Russian Revolution in Modern European History

Introduction

Russian revolution refers to a sequence of monetary and political turmoil that prevailed in Russia in February 1917 that swathe downfall of Tsar’s rule and the coming up of the Soviet Union that took over the ruling powers of the country. The movement was meant to bring a democratic environment for all the citizens since many of them never approved most of the previous government business. At this time, many people relocated from rural areas to towns and cities; this created a rising middle class that was more informed in terms of business and education-wise; hence they kept track of each and every government business.

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The revolution was initiated by the Bolsheviks party in their efforts to take over the government; they started by removing Tsar Nicholas II from power and deporting the family to Siberia followed by assassinating all the associates of the Romanov family, this move was meant to end the unfair, undemocratic rule and ensure they never get in power again. The revolution was a protest against the low living standards that the Russian majorities were living under, and they needed to change the situation for once and for all. The dreadful employee working environment and congestion resulted in the societal uprising.

However, there was no particular reason or goal as to the initiation of the Russian revolution; it only started as employee took their strike to the Petrograd streets protesting against the prevalent food shortages in the country at the time. Later, the military and the police force joined the strike, and this made many shops and industrial units be closed down due to the continued un-lawlessness in most towns and cities in Russia. In March, the same year, the then-president Nicholas II resigned from power and replaced immediately the leader of the socialist party named Duma. By October the same year, anxiety rose concerning the future of the nation, and this led to the second uprising in the country initiated by Vladimir Lenin and the Bolshevik party, causing the downfall of the ruling government. Due to this, a civil war broke out mainly to remove the communist government from power.

Analysis

According to Sheila Fitzpatrick, the peasant farmers and the employees initiated the revolution to remove the conditional government from power in order to establish a more fair and democratic government that would put the interest of the public in the front. This government was led by the Soviets, and it was believed to be the best democratic representative government ever. The main purpose of the revolution was to establish a more productive and responsible as at the time, many suffered from malnutrition, and many essential products were never in the market.

At the same time, the working conditions in their working places were horrible and unfavourable. To workers, the executive leaders were responsible for the lack of their promotion and their poor pay, and there was a great need to uproot them from power. On the other hand, Sheila considered the fact that the revolution could have been initiated by great people or leaders who were never pleased by the government businesses and mobilized workers to protest and demand their rights. However, there was never reliable evidence offered to back up the claim.

Sheila claims that the 1917 revolution was based on ethnicity, where some people felt neglected and left out in terms of wealth and promotions and sharing of power in the ruling government. Therefore, according to Sheila, many people were never happy with the Stalin government as they could not get promotions in their workplaces easily without passing through the backdoors that definitely, in most instances, would cost money to bribe the leaders in government for recommendations to achieve their goals. Yet, many of the bourgeoisie were learned and experienced but still dictated by the government in terms of their career growth and development. At the same time, there were many bureaucratic procedures when one wanted to start a business or industry. These made many disappointed with the government and feel unappreciated hence a total revolution.

On the other hand, Leonard Shapiro argued that the Russian revolution was caused by the need for a socialist government. This made the overthrow of the provisional government possible and the establishment of the soviets. However, the Bolshevik party took power and established a dictatorial system of government that was deceitful in its use of power. The Bolshevik party got into power because no other party planned to stop them though they were never supported by the majority of the citizens. The massive support for the Soviets did not necessarily imply similar support for the Bolsheviks.

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The party practised total socialism, where they used military and police force to run the economic and political issues. Though Shapiro believed that the Bolshevik party was a homogenous organization, many other writers have disputed this by using the research carried out that shows the party comprised of a number of committees, where each committee carried its own affairs independently without considering the opinion of the central committee.

According to the mark Mazower in his book “the dark continent”, he argued that the pressure of the First World War led to the protest of the Russian peasant farmers and employees that later resulted in the revolution. The revolution could entirely be traced to the low living standards and the congestion in many areas of the country in spite of the government leaders living lavishly and enjoying the best of the land. Many of the workers never got promotions in their workplaces, a fact that made them agitated and ready to do anything to change their situation. The tsarist government became hated by many people, including the military and the police force, because of its poor political-economic policies that were formulated to assist the masses of the country. Hence many of them lived in lingering poverty.

At the same time, many citizens were against communism, and the majority supported socialism as a system of government, as they traced their sufferings and problems to the communist government that ruled them. However, their efforts to remove the provisional government that they hated with passion saw the birth of a similar system of government ruled by the Bolsheviks party that militarized all its political and economic systems in order to stay in power rather than for the benefit of the majority. Mazower argues that the Russian leaders of 1917 were selfish and dishonest as they never cared about the masses of the land.

Conclusion

Therefore, we can conclude that the protest by the workers and peasants was never aimed at realizing any considerable results; they were agitated by the living conditions of the time and took it to the streets. In addition, the majority seemed to hate the government; hence they were determined to remove it from power in order to improve their living standards by allowing a more considerate form of government to take over. However, the start of the revolution could be traced to the shortage of foodstuffs and other necessities. In addition, many of them were never promoted due to the political ideologies of the ruling government.

Reference:

Sheila F. Education and Social Mobility in the Soviet Union 1921-1934, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1979.

Sheila Fitzpatrick, the Russian Revolution, Oxford University Press, Oxford 1994.

Sheila Fitzpatrick (ed.), Cultural Revolution in Russia, 1928-1931, Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 1978.

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Richard Pipes, the Russian Revolution, Collins Harvill publishers, London: 1990.

Leonard Schapiro.1917, the Russian Revolution and the Origins of Present-Day Communism London, 1984.

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