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Why Were There Two Revolutions In Russia In 1917?

2520 words - 10 pages

Introduction:In 1917, there were two revolutions in Russia : the February revolution, and the October revolution. The February revolution overthrew the monarchy. It was spontaneous and involved uprisings by workers, peasants and soldiers throughout the country. Those uprisings were often led by Soviets (councils.) The October revolution, which was also known as the 'Bolshevik Revolution' was carefully planned. It created the world's first communist state.Obviously, the revolutions were closely linked and the second one could not have existed without the first one. The essence of the revolutions was found in various events and causes, which had sometimes happened decades earlier.Russia in 1917In 1917, Russia was the largest and the most populated country of Europe. However, it was out of date and ruled by a tsarist regime. All the institutions that supported this monarchy (the Church, the nobility and the peasants) came from the Middle Ages. Meanwhile, new modern forces (such as the middle class) were being a threat to the monarchy. There were already a few revolutionary parties such as the Social Revolutionaries, split into the Mensheviks (who wanted peaceful change) and the Bolsheviks (who wanted revolution).The industry was old fashioned and poorly effective, which gave the country the name of "backward Russia". Russia was also disunited: there were ethical differences and many nationalities around the country. Minority groups such as Jews and Poles were often persecuted. Only 43% of the population was Russian, and it was the only part that could have had their say in the governing elite of the tsarist regime.PeasantsVery little of Russia's land was taken for useful purposes. About 85% of the population was rural, and this huge number of peasants was unsatisfied because it wanted more cultivable land. Not surprisingly, when it came to domestic issues, everything was blamed on the government (rightly or wrongly) which was considered incompetent. They also distrusted it because when it was needed, taxes were increased on peasants. This was the case in 1892 when following its expansion with Sergei Witte's industrialization program, Russia had huge overseas debts. It produced famine and contributed to tension and discontent in the lower classes, starting a wave of revolutionary spirit.IndustryFinancially, the country was heading to disaster. Industrial development had been all around Europe in the 19th century, but the Tsarist regime had neglected to follow it properly. There was a great gap between "modern Europe" and "backward Russia."Although it wasn't as quick and effective than the rest of Europe, Russia did have an increase in industry production and in the number of workers. In fact, they were part of a wide social class, between the lowest (poor people) and the highest classes (well respected aristocrats, nobles and clergies). This middle class was unstable, in misery and reducing itself to proletariat. They were good listeners of the...

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