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From Russian Empire to Soviet Union. Russia’s Problems. Russia had failed to industrialize and remained incredibly poor Social order was dominated by land-owning nobles, powerful Russian Orthodox priests, and the czar Majority of Russians were poor rural peasants

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russia s problems
Russia’s Problems
  • Russia had failed to industrialize and remained incredibly poor
  • Social order was dominated by land-owning nobles, powerful Russian Orthodox priests, and the czar
  • Majority of Russians were poor rural peasants
  • Duma (legislature) set up by Nikolai II in 1905 had no real power
political unrest
Political Unrest
  • Revolutionaries, including socialists and anarchists, were everywhere – some wanted to lead the peasants in widespread revolt while others believed that leading the small community of factory and railroad workers in the cities would be more effective
wwi bad idea
WWI: Bad Idea
  • Outbreak of WWI illustrated to Russians just how behind the rest of Europe their country was
    • the few factories that existed in Russia could not produce enough war supplies
    • supplies that were produced could not reach the front because too few railroads had been built
    • casualty rates soared due to lack of rifles, ammunition, etc.
nikolai s mistake
Nikolai’s Mistake
  • Nikolai’s generals all failed to win any major gains or to stop the massive loss of Russian soldiers
  • Nikolai decided to go to the front and lead the Russian army himself, leaving behind his German wife Alexandra to govern the country
alexandra s mistake
Alexandra’s Mistake
  • Alexandra began to rely on the advice of a mysterious “monk” named GrigoriRasputin; Rasputin was a “healer” and, most likely, a skilled con-artist
  • Alexandra became convinced that Rasputin could heal her hemophiliac son (and heir to the throne) Alexei, and moved Rasputin into the palace
  • Soon, it was Rasputin and not Alexandra who was making all the decisions
grigori rasputin
Grigori Rasputin
  • 1869 – 1916
  • “The Mad Monk”
  • Alexandra’s closest advisor
  • Was he a mystic healer?
  • Did he have supernatural powers?
  • Nearly all the facts about Rasputin are clouded due to the large amount of mythology and folklore which surrounds his history
rasputin s murder
Rasputin’s Murder
  • December 1916: a group of Russian nobles murdered Rasputin to end his influence:
    • First they poisoned him with a massive dose of cyanide
    • They then shot him in the chest, but Rasputin got up and ran away, so they shot him again
    • They then beat him with clubs until he was unconscious (and presumed dead)
    • They then threw his body into the river
    • When the body later washed up, an autopsy ruled that he had actually died from drowning!
the february revolution
The February Revolution
  • WWI was going too badly for Russia:
    • casualties were high
    • food and fuel shortages at home
    • desperate workers went on strike
    • soldiers refused to fire on strikers or on political protesters
nikolai steps down
Nikolai Steps Down
  • Nikolai II was convinced by his advisors to step down and give control to the Duma
  • The Duma set up a provisional democratic government
    • made up of mostly middle-class liberals
    • began to write a constitution
    • Elected Aleksandr Kerensky as prime minister
    • but did NOT pull Russia out of the war (BIG MISTAKE!)
the october revolution
The October Revolution
  • Under the provisional government, socialists began to organize themselves by creating “soviets” or councils of workers and soldiers
  • The socialists came to be dominated by a radical sect called the Bolsheviks
  • The Bolsheviks were led by the Marxist, Vladimir IlyichUlyanov (Vladimir Lenin)
    • Lenin’s brother had been executed for plotting to kill the czar
    • Lenin himself was arrested in 1895 and exiled to Siberia for participating in illegal protests; when released, he moved to Switzerland
    • Returned after the fall of the czar in 1917; Germany actually helped him get home, because they knew that he would create political instability in Russia
kerensky falls
Kerensky Falls
  • The provisional government had failed to end the war and had failed to listen to the demands of the peasants for land reform (the nobles still owned almost all of the land), so ….
  • Lenin’s Bolsheviks overthrew the government and seized power
russia exits wwi
Russia Exits WWI
  • Lenin made a quick peace with Germany in 1918, surrendering a huge amount of territory by signing the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
the soviet union
The Soviet Union
  • Russian government became communist, with Lenin as head of state
  • All land became state property and was distributed to the peasants to farm on
  • Control of all factories and mines was given to the workers
  • Russia was renamed the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), or the Soviet Union, in 1922
russian civil war
Russian Civil War
      • 1918-1921: Civil war fought between the “Reds” (communists) and the “Whites” (czarists)
  • The Entente Powers (Britain, France, & the U.S.) intervened on behalf of the Whites, sending troops and supplies
    • This actually hurt the Whites because most Russians disliked foreigners
    • It also led to icy relations between the US and the Reds after the Reds won
death of the romanovs
Death of the Romanovs

July 17, 1918

Nicholas, his wife Aleksandra, daughters Olga (22), Tatiana (21), Maria (19), and Anastasia (17), son Alexei (13), family doctor and 3 servants were all executed without warning to prevent the Whites from ever putting the czar back in power

the red menace
“The Red Menace”
  • By 1921, Lenin and the communists had defeated the Whites and had full control of the nation – Russia would remain under communist rule for the next 70 years