Russia - Background

  • Created by: 13gpascoe
  • Created on: 01-04-19 20:49

Vladimir Ilyich Ulaynov - Lenin - 1870-1924

  • Well to do professional family, trained as a lawyer
  • Attracted to Marxism > brought him to the attention of secret police!!
  • 1898 - Social Democrats Party launched, Lenin in EXILE in Siberia
  • He wrote a programme for the launch
  • Known as Lenin from 1901 

He was then realeased and went into EXILE in Switzerland.

  • 1902 - he produced "What is to be done?" pamphlet, says workers need to go for a revolution that will destory tsarist autocracy, not go for trade unionism
  • Founded Iskra - Spark (rev newspaper), developed underground party network
  • 1903 - SDs split into Bols and Mens after Lenin won a vote against Martov

He remained in EXILE unitl 1917, but briefly returned in October 1905 to St Petersburg

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Julius Martov

  • Jewish middle class background 
  • Helped found the Emancipation of Labour & the SD movement 
  • Editor of Iskra (Party Journal, founded by Lenin) from 1903 -1905 after he brojke with Lenin to form Mensheviks 
  • Wanted to work through Trade Unions and Soviers (workers councils) to destroy gov 

Not invited to join Bols Gov in Oct 1917. Mens banned in 1918. Martov exiled in 1920.

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Karl Marx 1818-1883

  • German Jew 
  • Wrote The Communist Manifesto in 1848 - translated into Russian in 1869
  • Das Kapital, first volume published in 1867, 2nd in 1885, 3rd in 1894 

When he was writing he believed GB and W.EU had reached STAGE 4 of his 'stage theory' which was Capitalism, belived stage 5 (Socialism) and stage 6 (Communism) would soon follow.


  • STAGE 1 = no classes or private property
  • STAGE 2 = Imperialism, strong man at the top, aristocracy created
  • STAGE 3 = Feudalism, land owned by aristocracy, peasants exploited
  • STAGE 4 = Capitalism, bourgeoisie exploit proletariat
  • STAGE 5 = Socialism, workers take control in a dictatorship of the proletariat 
  • STAGE 6 = Communism, money and states no longer needed, all join together in the common good, no wars or competition.
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Russia Early 1900's

1800's - early 1900's = WEST EU seen advances politically, socially, better public health and medicine, expansion of trade and railways, break down of old social hierarchys. 

Russia trailed behind in ALL these areas, it was considered 'backward' e.g. Serfdom (where a peasant is owned by their landlord) abolished in W & Central EU in 1848, not abolished in Russia until 1861. BUT still considered as  'former serfs' by Rus society, civil rights & status reflected this.

RUS = 8 million square miles. Large parts = inhospitable - forests, barren areas > size and climate restrict Economic development.  

Many ETHNIC GROUPS!! Diff cultures, languages, religion etc. Total Pop = 185 mill, by 1917 less than half were Russian! 

  • Post 1890's RAPID growth in industry, 1894 - 1904 annual industrial growth rate = > 8% !!
  • By 1917, Rus = 5th largest industrial POWER in the WORLD, approx 25,000 factories!
  • increase in coal, iron, oil and size of cities around Moscow & St Petersburg
  • URBAN POP X 4 !! 1867 = 7 mill, 1917 = 28 mill!
  • improvement in roads and railways as well 
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Russia Early 1900's cont


  • post 1905, peasants have more opps to leave mirs (communes) 
  • schemes launced encouraging them to buy land and develop farming units, stopped by outbreak of WW1 :( 
  • 3.5 mill peasants encouraged to move to Siberia > grew as an agricultural region
  • BUT 1914 only approx 10% of peasant holdings had changed from traditional (inefficient) ***** -farming so SLOW CHANGE 
  • reforms > inc in poor, landless peasants who wandered into towns for work AND formation of kulak class (peasants who had enough wealth to employ others to work on their farm)

Middle class growing, but FRUSTRATED! £ gains not matched by political advancement! Working class suffered harsh conditions, low pay, long hours, insufficient machinery, cramped living quarters. Factories & mines = often UNSAFE! 

After 1905 - Trade Unions allowed, strikes theoretically forbidden but they occured!! > 2000 in 1913

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Russian Politics Early 1900's

SLOW political change, until 1905 Rus = only country in EU without a parliament (except Turkey & Montenegro)

  • 1917 Rus Empire = effectively an AUTOCRACY!! TSAR felt he possessed the DIVINE RIGHT to rule and also HEADED the RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH
  • He was a 'little father' to the people.
  • Tsar advised by ministers, but they couldn't act without his approval
  • Depended upon Bureaucracy ( group of state officials, CORRUPT)
  • WORLD'S LARGEST ARMY! 6 MILL = 1914  12 MILL = during WW1

How was the autocracy maintained?? STATE CONTROL, censorship at EVERY level, POLICE STATE! POLITICAL MEETINGS = FORBIDDEN!! OKHRANA - unlimited powers, secret police, could imprison or exile.

1905 - Opposition groups combined to pressurise TSAR in light of defeat in RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR! > Riots & Strikes > OCTOBER MANIFESTO! This promised a STATE DUMA, elected representative assembly. April 1906 (before FIRST DUMA meets) Tsar issues the 'Fundamental Laws' - detracts State Duma control.

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1905 Revolution

1904 - RUSSO-JAPANESE war begins. Result of imperial rivalry in Far East. CATASTROPHIC DEFEAT FOR RUSSIA!

> 1905 REVOLUTION (series of events that took place over several months)

  • Bloody Sunday - Jan 1905, massacre of PEACEFUL workers marching towards Winter Palace
  • Workers set up elected Soviets (councils) trying to assume control.
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  • Four State Dumas that met between 1906 and 1917
  • debated politics and legislation
  • restricted by TSARIST INTERFERENCE!
  • became associated with liberal moderates leading those more radical to acts of TERRORISM

RESTLESSNESS amongst peasants and workers, EXPLOITED by radical groups

"The GREATER the concessions the LOUDER the voices became wanting more!"

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