The Causes of the Russian Revolution in 1917

Essay by DrGuiA-, November 2006

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The Tsar was forced to abdicate in February 1917, bringing an end to the Tsarist system of government in Russia. A system much like the ancien regime in France, that lasted centuries, was replaced by a Provisional Government led by Prince Lvov and predominantly by liberals, and shortly after the Bolsheviks seized power. The causes of the tsarist system's collapse are numerous and, as always in History, cannot be explained by one event in particular. However it is clear that the political and economic situations as well as the social and military situation are the main reasons of this Revolution. In this essay I will analyse in detail the reasons why the 1917 Russian Revolution broke out and look at the various events which led to it.

Firstly, the causes of this Revolution could be divided in two parts. The first one is the situation after the 1905 Revolution and the second one is the beginning of the First World War and the situation in 1914 and after.

Indeed, there was quite a considerable amount of unrest during the period leading up to the World War, in relation to Russia's social, economic, military, and political situation, illustrated namely by the 1905 revolution. The economic boom due to industrialisation in the last decade of the 19th century meant that the number of industrial workers increased by a million and the cities were flooded with factory workers. Russian cities had not been prepared for such vast numbers, and workers were forced to live in terrible slums. Their working conditions added to their growing discontent and in 1905 factory workers organised many strikes in order to obtain reduced working hours and better wages. The peasantry was living in a similar period of crisis. Rising taxes, increasing debts and inadequate resources brought about...