Revolution in any country was considered to be a crucial point in the country and its nation history. World history knows several eminent revolutions that later were greatly learned, compared, and discussed by historian, political leaders, and ordinary people. The revolution in question is Russian Revolution of 1917. It had the great impact on the world policy development, but the reasons why it happened in Russia are still disputable. We are going to consider several opinions.
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A revolution is like a fever which grips the patient, rises to a climax, and finally subsides, leaving the patient to resume his normal life – perhaps in some respects actually strengthened by the experience, immunized at least for a while from a similar attack, but certainly not wholly made over into a new man (Fitzpatrick 2008, p.149).
Speaking about Russian Revolution, we can say that it had features mentioned in the definition by Fitzpatrick. The reasons about its appearance are different.
Skocpol in the article Old Regime Legacies and Communist Revolutions in Russia and China stresses that the first main reason of the Revolution was the sad state of Russian peasantry. Until the Emancipation of 1861tha main part of peasants were serves. After the Emancipation they got freedom but a lot of new hard obligations in addition. High taxes and noncommercial rents made their life not better than it was before. That dissatisfaction led to rebellion.
The second reason which may seem to subsequent from the previous one is, according to Skocpol, that in Russian Empire “there were no the landed upper classes able to exert formal, collective political leverage against the authority of Tsar” (Skocpol 2001, p.292). Thus, we can make the conclusion that Russian peasantry was practically socially unprotected class. Thus, they decided to fight for their rights and freedom in choice.
The third significant reason was, however, the weak position of noble class. In spite of the quick economical development, their conditions did not change a lot. As Skocpol highlights, “the Russian noble still gravitated toward state employment as the one sure site of opportunities to reside in the cities and to earn salaries to supplement the very meager incomes that most obtained from the serf-estate” (Skocpol 2001, p.293).
Smele in his article War and Revolution in Russia 1914-1921presernts another vision of this question. He dwells upon the evidence of unsuccessful campaigns and crises in 1914-1916.
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In 1914, Russia was hardly prepared for war. Just nine years earlier she had been defeated in a war with tiny Japan. The Revolution of 1905, when revolts and uprisings had forced the Tsar to concede civil rights and a parliament to the Russian people, had also shaken the empire (Smele).
The author also points out that reforms that later followed and the plan of rebuilding were far from complete. The economic and political problems existing within the Empire were greatly reinforced by the World War I. Numeral factors such as the industry militarization and the hard food supply provided the background for the disaster within.
In conclusion I would like to say that in spite of all existing contradictions about Revolution premises, it was a big shock and had a great impact on world countries’ policy and regime.
In the West, too, interpretations of the Revolution have also been coloured by political expediency and considerations that are not without their own ideological subtext. Foreign governments were understandably hostile to the infant socialist state whose leaders were openly committed to the goal of international revolution and the destruction of capitalism. Not surprisingly, the highly charged political nature of the events of 1917 has given rise to a wide variety of interpretations and historiography approaches that span the entire ideological and intellectual spectrum (Wood 2003, pp.64-65).
Fitzpatrick. S. (2008). The Russian Revolution. New York: Oxford University Press US.
Skocpol, T. (2001). Old Regime Legacies and Communist Revolutions in Russia and China. Preview Social Forces, 55(2), p.284-315. Found in Week 7 Course Packet.
Smele, J. War and Revolution in Russia 1914-1921. 2009. Web.
Wood, A. The Origins of the Russian Revolution, 1861-1917. New York: Routledge, 2003.