Russia 1914 1917
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Russia 1914 - 1917. Alexandra and Alexei. Rasputin. Russia in 1914. A huge country Ruled by the Romanovs Emperor in 1914 was Nicholas II His German wife was Alexandra His son Alexei suffered from haemophilia. The Russian People.

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Russia 1914 - 1917

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Russia 1914 - 1917

Alexandra and Alexei


Russia in 1914

  • A huge country

  • Ruled by the Romanovs

  • Emperor in 1914 was Nicholas II

  • His German wife was Alexandra

  • His son Alexei suffered from haemophilia

The Russian People

  • Many Russian people were peasant farmers – they were poor and illiterate

  • Most of the land was owned by the nobility

  • There was a growing URBAN population which worked in the factories – they lived in poor conditions

  • So for most Russians life was hard

The Ruling class

  • The Tsar was an AUTOCRAT – he held power

  • He ruled with the support of

  • The nobility

  • The secret police – OKHRANA

  • The army

The Duma

  • This was a type of Parliament set up in 1905 after a revolution

  • Nicholas II paid little attention to it

Into World War 1

  • In 1914 Russia entered the war

  • It had a massive army BUT faced problems!

  • It was badly equipped

  • It was badly led by poor generals

  • Supplies and communications were slow in Russia

Nicholas II takes charge of the army

  • This decision was strongly opposed by the Duma who felt that the Tsar had no experience of leading troops (they were right) and felt that the move would put the Tsarist system under serious threat (they were right).

  • 1915 Casualties reach 2,000,000

Mounting military defeats

Increasingly organized and vocal opposition from political groups i.e. Liberals – The Duma was suspended in 1915 in an attempt to silence the opposition.

Problems facing Russiaby 1917

  • Rapidly falling living standards - food shortages, rising prices and fuel shortages.

  • Spiraling government expenditure – so the government began to print more paper money – resulted in inflationary problems.

Loss of confidence in the Tsar-Nicholas, Alexandra and Rasputin.

  • Alexandra assumed a lot of responsibility for ruling Russia whilst Nicholas was away with the troops – she was an uncompromising believer in autocracy and was opposed to any attempts at compromise.

  • She became increasingly unpopular during the war – she was German by birth and she was rarely seen in public which didn’t help her image.

  • Her relationship with Rasputin also caused problems


  • Trusted member of the Royal court for many years – it was believed that he could heal the Tsar’s son.

  • During the war many peoplebelieved that Alexandra andRasputin were ruling Russia together (and were also possibly having an affair).

  • Rasputin’s dubious reputation severely damaged the reputation of the Tsarina and the Tsar. Much of the population lost confidence in the Tsar’s judgment.

By 1917

  • By 1917 the Tsar was in a very precarious position – although Rasputin was dead (murdered in 1916), the damage was done – Russia had been weakened by severe military defeats, poverty was engulfing the country again, opposition groups were getting louder and many of the people had lost confidencein the God-given powers of the Tsar.

Russia was ready for Revolution????????????

  • March 1917, St. Petersberg (Petrograd) Nicholas abdicates the throne after crowd gathers outside of his palace “bread, bread”

  • Duma takes over (provisional govt.).

  • Set up a republic

  • Soviets- councils of workers & soldiers

Alexander Kerensky

(Head of Provisional Govt.)

  • July 1917 Conditions are worsening in Russia

  • Kerensky Offensive launched (disastrous failure)

  • Troops mutiny

  • Workers go on strike

  • Farmers started seizing land from landowners

  • Food Shortage

Lenin Comes into the Picture

  • Background:

    • Lenin exiled to Germany

    • Germans smuggle him back into Russia

    • Becomes head of Bolsheviks (communist, violent revolution)

    • Leon Trotsky #2 man

    • Slogan “Peace, Land, and Bread”

November 1917 Conditions are Ripe for Revolution

  • Overthrow government in less than a week.

  • Station the government in Moscow, out of the Kremlin

  • Hammer and Sickle symbolize union of industrial worker and farmer

  • Ends war by signing treaty w/ Germany

Civil War Ensues

  • 3 year long civil war

  • “Reds” Communists

  • “Whites” Mensheviks, democrats, others.

  • Allies supports whites (against communism). Send troops supplies.

  • Communists would kill tsar & tsarina along with their five children in July 1918.

1921 “Reds” (communists) win

  • Red Army led by Trotsky

    • Shoot every 10th man if a unit did poorly

    • Very good speaker

    • Reds positioned in Moscow

New Government

  • Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR)

    • Constitution

    • 18+ Vote

    • Supreme Soviet

Lenin’s NEP

  • New Economic Policy (NEP)

    • Production slowed

    • NEP – allowed for some capitalist ventures (business were allowed to be open)

    • Economy recovered by 1928 to pre-war level

1924 Lenin Dies

  • Power struggle between Trotsky & Stalin

  • Stalin isolates Trotsky from Communist Party

  • Trotsky flees to Mexico

    • 1940 Assassinated by Stalin’s command

  • Stalin becomes new head of USSR

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