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What Was the Russian Revolution?

Diana Bocco
Updated May 23, 2024
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The Russian Revolution refers to a series of political upheavals that occurred in 1917 and led to the establishment of the Soviet Union, which would be involved in official government issues until 1991. It wasn't a simple process, and in fact, it took the Bolshevik party several attempts before they finally got control of the government.

The first step of the revolution was overthrowing Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, exiling the family to Siberia, and eventually killing all members of the Romanov family. The Russian Revolution started in February 1917 and was a direct result of the disastrous socio-economic conditions the Russian people were living in. Deplorable working conditions and overcrowding led to social unrest, and the strain of World War I only furthered the turmoil.

At the beginning, the revolution did not have a specific goal. On 23 February 1917, workers simply took to the streets of Petrograd to complain about shortages of food. In a matter of days, most local shops and factories had shut down to join the protest. Soldiers and police officers eventually joined the protest, and all attempts to restore civil order were crushed. On the first few days of March 1917, Nicholas II abdicated and was quickly replaced by a provisional government put together by the Duma Socialist Party.

By October 1917, raising concerns over the future of the country resulted in a second Russian revolution. Led by Vladimir Lenin and the Bolshevik party, this resulted in the overthrowing of the Russian provisional government. Civil war followed, but it was clear that the Bolsheviks were there to stay. Nonetheless, millions of people tried to keep the revolution alive by fighting ardently to overthrow the Communist government.

The White Army, a mix of moderate socialists and liberals who opposed the strict regime of the Bolsheviks, eventually lost the civil war, and many emigrated to Berlin and Paris. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, or USSR, was formerly established in 1922, and recognized as the official government by most countries except the US, which did not accept the regimen as official until 1933.

Historical Index is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Diana Bocco
By Diana Bocco
Diana Bocco, a versatile writer with a distinct voice, creates compelling long-form and short-form content for various businesses. With a data-focused approach and a talent for sharing engaging stories, Diana’s written work gets noticed and drives results.
Discussion Comments
By anon334113 — On May 09, 2013

They overthrew Tsar Nicholas II to remove the monarchy and create a communist government under Lenin and the Bolsheviks.

By anon262922 — On Apr 22, 2012

@ anon5257: The Bolsheviks contrasted to the Social Revolutionaries in the way they jumped from an autocratic government to a communist form of government. Because they had such a powerful, kind of manipulative in ways leader as Lenin, they were able to overthrow Tsar Nicholas II.

By anon161670 — On Mar 21, 2011

what happened in the march revolution?

By anon86784 — On May 26, 2010

So I'm confused. Did the Bolsheviks overthrow Tsar Nicholas II to form the Soviet Union, a communist government? So they basically went from an autocracy to a communist government?

By anon52507 — On Nov 14, 2009

this sums it up: Russia was the most backward country in Europe back in the early 1900s. Added to that the debt from World War I, the country was starving and starving people are ripe for revolution. Lenin and his people were in positions to push the people for revolution and bring in communism. Russia didn't have enough of a middle class to push for capitalism.

By anon909 — On May 08, 2007

hey guys what were the main goals of the russian revolution exactly?

Diana Bocco
Diana Bocco
Diana Bocco, a versatile writer with a distinct voice, creates compelling long-form and short-form content for various...
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