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The Russian Revolution. WW1, the Provisional Government and Red October. The War Begins. Russia (like most of Europe) was eager to go to war Russia had been through a period of decline and was anxious to regain her status as a world power

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the russian revolution

The Russian Revolution

WW1, the Provisional Government and Red October

the war begins
The War Begins
  • Russia (like most of Europe) was eager to go to war
  • Russia had been through a period of decline and was anxious to regain her status as a world power
  • Examples:1. Russia lost the Crimean War in the 19th Century2. Russia lost the “Great Game” to Britain during the Age of Imperialism (control of Central Asia)3. Had won a major war with the Ottoman Empire but was totally disrespected afterwards (she was denied control of the Balkan region in favour of Austria)4. Absolutely humiliated by the Japanese in 1905
  • Also dealing with nationalist revolts, unhappy workers and peasant uprisings – success in war could unify the nation
the bear vs the black eagle
The Bear vs. the Black Eagle
  • the Russian Army seemed powerful in 1914
  • in reality, poorly trained, poorly led, ill-equipped (only 2 machine guns per battalion vs. 36 for Germany, 6 heavy artillery units vs. 381 for Germany)
  • soundly defeated by Germany in every battle (at Tannenburg lost 100,000 men in one day)
  • 3.8 million casualties in 10 months of war
  • equipment shortages, soldiers shared rifles, food shortages, completely ran out of ammunition in Dec 1914
  • not enough doctors and medics
  • life expectancy of a Russian officer was 5 days.
  • Russian generals who performed badly were executed or killed themselves
the collapse
The Collapse
  • backwards production and railway system meant that the cities lacked basic products and food. Russia was literally starving to death.
  • 1915, Tsar Nicholas II, fired the military commander and installed himself as war leader.
  • Went to the front and left his wife (with Rasputin) in charge. Alexandra never let Nicholas know how bad things were until it was too late.
  • Rasputin was murdered by members of the Russian Royal Family in 1916 – too late – damage done!
  • Feb. 1917, massive strike in Petrograd, Tsar ordered violence but the military supported the people, mutinies everywhere
  • Tsar forced to abdicate his throne to save the country from tearing itself apart.
  • Offered the crown to his brother who refused to accept it.
  • The 300 year old Romanov dynasty was gone.
who killed rasputin
Who Killed Rasputin?
  • Official story: poisoned, shot, beaten and drowned by Great Duke DmitriRomanov, Prince Felix Yussupov, Vladimir Purishkevich (a member of the Russian Parliament), and Dr. Lazaret
  • Recent Findings – head wound was likely cause of death – water in lungs didn’t indicate drowning – cremators didn’t cut his tendons- that’s why he sat up while burning
  • The newest theory – based on the head wound, he was shot by a British .455 Webley Revolver – Rasputin was trying to convince the Tsar that the war was a huge mistake and to pull out – a possible MI6 mission to keep Russia fighting – an elaborate story to cover up the truth
  • Unfortunately, we will probably never know for sure
  • But, the thing in the jar at the Russian Museum is a fake! Reports of Rasputin’s member in France after the war are describe something black and shrivelled – like a rotten banana – In case you were interested
the provisional governemnt
The Provisional Governemnt
  • Eventually lead by Alexander Kerensky
  • Never meant to be a real government, only temporary until a general election, felt compelled not to make major decisions.
  • Didn’t end the war or solve any major problems
  • Idealistic – General Order #1: officers did not rule, rather soldiers voted on major decisions. Army completely collapsed
  • Unpopular – needed the support of the Petrograd Soviet (a committee of soldiers and workers who took control of the city just after the February Revolution
vladimir ilyich lenin
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin
  • Socialist Writer, thinker and revolutionary
  • Marxist
  • Participant in 1905 Revolution
  • Founder of the Bolshevik party – dedicated to installing a socialist government in Russia
  • Was placed into exile in 1907
  • In 1917, he returned to Russia (with German Permission) after the February Revolution
the second russian revolution
The Second Russian Revolution
  • Lenin, along with Leon Trotsky and the Bolsheviks take control of the Petrograd Soviet
  • The Bolsheviks already tried to overthrow the provisional gov’t once (July days) but failed.
  • Kornilov Revolt – A Russian General believed Kerensky was plotting to take over and tried to arrest him, Kerensky asked the Petrograd Soviet to protect him.
  • The Bolsheviks realized how weak Kerensky was and turned on him. Were able to seize power