The Russian Revolution

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1905 Revolution
Workers wanted better conditions, eight-hour work days and higher wages. After being ignored, and
constant defeat in war, the people became inpatient and more angered.
By then end of January, there were more than 400,000 workers out on strike. The 1905 revolution was
under way. For the rest of the year, the government had little control of events, as strikes,
demonstrations, petitions, peasant uprisings, student riots and assassinations became commonplace.
The Tsar was 'at war with his own people'.
In February, the strikes spread to other cities. Workers demand eight hour days, high wages and
better conditions. On 4th February, the Tsar's uncle, the Grand Duke Sergei, was assassinated in
In March and May, shameful defeats of the Russian army and navy in war with Japan led to
demands for a change of government. In June, sailors of the battleship Potemkin were mutinied.
This was very worrying for the government, as the other sections of the armed forces might also
In the countryside in June and July peasant riots became widespread. Land was seized and
landowners' houses were looted and burned.
In September a peace treaty was signed between the Russians and the Japanese. Thousands of
troops were now free to help put down unrest in European Russia. The government paid them all
their back pay and promised better conditions of service so they would remain loyal to the Tsar.
In October, a general strike spread from Moscow to other cities. All opposition groups- workers,
students, teachers, doctors, revolutionaries- were united in demanding changes. Barricades
were set up on the streets.
On 26th October, the St Petersburg Soviet of Workers' Deputies was formed. Representatives
from factories met to co-ordinate strike action. Soviets were formed in other cities. This was a
great threat to the Tsar's government.
The Tsar had a choice of giving in or using force, with the likelihood of massive bloodshed. He
gave in and issued the October Manifesto on 30th October. This promised: a parliament or Duma
elected by the people; civil rights e.g. freedom of speech and conscience; uncensored
newspapers and the right to form political parties. The liberals and middle classes believed they
had won democratic government. They stopped their protests and supported the government.
By December, with all the troops back in Russia, the Tsar felt strong enough to take back control.
He used force to close down the St Petersburg Soviet and crush an armed uprising in Moscow.
He sent out troops to take revenge on workers and peasants who had rioted and bring them
under control.

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The Tsar was forced to agree to the October Manifesto, however when he felt strong enough with the
troops back in Russia, he used force to seize power again, and many workers and peasants were shot or
put back in line.
February/March Revolution 1917
The February/March revolution was built up starting from 1914 until 1917 for many reasons as follows.…read more

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During the terrible winter of 1916, the railway lines were so iced up that it was very difficult to
transport goods into Petrograd.
Prices shot up sky high, and bread queues formed, even when there was not enough bread to
go around.
The revolution begins -
Workers were demanding political changes as well as food and fuel.
On 7th March 1917 in Petrograd, 40,000 workers from the giant Putilov engineering works went
on strike for higher wages.…read more

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For the Bolsheviks, timing was everything. The Bolsheviks were now the `saviours' of Petrograd and
their support was at an all-time high. They won an overall majority in the elections to the Petrograd
Soviet and Leon Trotsky, a recent recruit was elected chairman.
Meanwhile, the situation in the rest of Russia was deteriorating fast. In the countryside, the peasants
were seizing land at an increased rate.…read more


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