Revolution and Change in Russia
- Russia was rapidly becoming industrialized. Their leaders wanted their country to be one of the great imperialist powers of the world. They set up a sphere of influence in Chinese Manchuria, they next sought to gain control of northern Korea. Japan also wanted northern Korea. After protesting unsuccessfully against Russia’s presence there, Japan declared war with Russia. -> Japan won.
The Revolution of 1905:
- Businesspeople, professionals, and intellectuals resented Czar Nicholas II’s autocratic government. Factory workers stepped up their demands for better wages and hours by forming labor unions and supporting some Socialist reformers.
- Russia’s population consisted of large groups of minorities.
- A group of workers headed by a priest marched to the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg to present a petition to Nicholas. When the palace guards fired on the crowd, killing hundreds, dissatisfaction flared into revolutionary rage throughout the country. Unable to control the disorder that followed the massacre, Nicholas agreed to allow his subjects to elect a duma, or parliament. The czar took control of the duma and prevented it from representing the general will.
The Effect of World War I on Russia:
- World War I at first seemed to unify Russia. Some saw the war as an opportunity to gain territory in the Balkans. Liberals hoped that Great Britain and French can influence to Russia more democratic policies. All Russians together defended their country. People were desperate -> they demanded an end to Russia’s participation in the war. Czar Nicholas II did not agree and continued to prosecute the war.
- In March 1917, the Russian Revolution began. Prince George Lvov and Alexander Kerensky – took control of Russia through a provisional government. They refused to take out the war -> hunger continued. In November 1917, a second revolution occurred. It was led by Vlardimir I. Lenin.
- A follower of the theories of Karl Marx, Lenin believed socialism must replace capitalism through violent revolution. Marx had thought that the first Socialist revolution would occur in an industrialized country.
- Lenin’s party, the Bolshevik (later called Communist), took over the government. One of its first acts in 1918 was to take Russia out of World War I by signing the Treaty of Breast-Litovsk with Germany. They gave up rights to land that held a third of the population of Russia, a third of its agriculture, and half of its industry.
- The Communists fought various groups of anti-Communists in a bloody civil war. The Communists became known as the Reds and their opponents as the Whites. Under war communism, the government owned most industries, banks, and railroads.
A New government:
- Under Lenin’s regime, workers and peasants were permitted to elect representatives to a lawmaking body. This congress was controlled by Lenin. The new Communist government discouraged religious worship and adopted atheism (the belief that God does not exist) as official government policy. It also forbade Russians to recognize class distinctions, encouraging them to address one another as “comrade”.
- The Communist party was the only political party allowed to exist. The government censored newspapers and other forms of communication. To make sure that Whites would not rescue the royal family, the Communists executed the czar, his wife and children. The government’s secret police, the Cheka, stalked political opponents and killed them. -> Red won.
- Lenin eased the hardship caused by civil war by instituting the New Economic Policy (NEP). Under NEP, the Russian economy improved. In 1922, Russia changed its name to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR)- the Soviet Union.
Stalin and the Rise of a modern totalitarian state:
- After Lenin died 1924, Joseph Stalin took control of the Soviet Union. He