European Political Science
Lecture 6: The Russian
Main Events in the Revolution
• 1905 Revolution
• 1917 February Revolution
• 1917 October Revolution
• 1917-1921 Civil War
• 1922 Creation of USSR
Why Was There One?
• Highly centralized Autocratic Rule that was more centralized than bourbon
France. The Aristocracy was less independent than France.
• Internally they were weak and extremely underdeveloped. There were
three social groups:
1. Peasants were the dominant group and made up about 90% of the
population. They worked for lords until serfdom was abolished in
1861, which was really late for Europe.
2. The Working Class was small but growing. They were highly
concentrated in industrial cities. They were very radical in their
views of wages, and the government would respond with violence,
so they almost had no choice to be revolutionary.
• There were also a number of Radicals within Russia:
1. Populists were the first modern terrorists. The peasants turned
them into Police. They were responsible for things like
assassinations and the rise of “real” Russia. They went into the
countryside and awakened the peasants regarding the government.
2. Marxists were educated elites and focused more on
modernization. In 1989 they founded the Russian Social
Democratic Labor Party, which broke in 1903 between the
Bolsheviks and Mensheviks. The Bolsheviks were and elite
revolutionary party to act as the vanguard of people. Lenin led
them. The Mensheviks were a socialist party with broad
membership and support.
Run-Up to Revolution
• Around this time the Tsar thought it would be a good idea to have a war
with Japan. The Japanese won and this created a crisis in the government
that would lead to the 1905 Revolution. • In January 1905 a Priest was presenting a petition and they were shot
down. 1,000 people died in what is known as bloody Sunday. This caused
strikes throughout Russia and the creation of the council of worker reps
The 1917 Revolution
• World War I had broken out and Russia was forced to take the side of
France and England against Germany