Has the Russian Revolution achieved its goals?

Russian revolution

Russian artists later painted posters and paintings about the October Revolution. This picture by Boris Kustodiev shows a huge protester with a red flag. The red stands for the communists.

The Russian Revolution was a change of power in Russia in October 1917. Much has changed in the country as a result of this revolution. There were other revolutions in Russia. But this was the most important, hence the name.

In the years before 1900 there were uprisings in the Russian Empire. The tsar, the Russian emperor, succeeded time and again in suppressing them. In the years after 1900 it became more and more difficult. The last revolution he survived was the one in 1905.

The First World War began in 1914. The war went badly for Russia and many territories were lost to the Germans. The February Revolution of 1917 drove the Tsar out. That same year there was another, much better known, revolution. It was called the October Revolution or the Russian Revolution. In this revolution, the communists took power.

At that time Russia still had a different calendar than the one that applies to and. The calendar in Russia was a few days behind our calendar. The February Revolution actually broke out in March and the October Revolution in November. Nevertheless, the old names have been retained.

What did the 1905 revolution bring?

A drawing about “Bloody Sunday”, January 22nd, 1905. At that time demonstrators wanted to hand the Tsar a letter with requests. However, the tsar was not in the capital at all, but let soldiers loose on the people.

In 1904 and 1905 a war took place between Russia and Japan. Russia suffered many defeats. In addition, the war was bad for the economy, so many people became poor. There were demonstrations against the Tsar's government. The tsar fought the demonstrations with soldiers.

Nevertheless, the tsar had a parliament elected so that the people were no longer so dissatisfied. Most of the members of parliament did not like the tsar. That is why he closed parliament several times and had it re-elected. There was not much that Parliament could achieve.

What changed after the revolution in early 1917?

A meeting of the Soviet in the capital, Petrograd, in 1917. “Petrograd” was the name of Saint Petersburg during the First World War. Only later did Moscow become the Russian capital.

During the First World War, Germany and Austria-Hungary were able to conquer many areas of Russia. The Russian soldiers fared very badly because they received too little food and medicine. Two million people from Russia had already died in the war. Many things were also lacking in the Russian cities. There wasn't even enough bread.

That's why many Russians took to the streets to demonstrate. There were also strikes against the government: hundreds of thousands stopped working to show how angry they were. Again the tsar and the government were tough and let soldiers fight the people.

But this time some groups of soldiers were for the demonstrators. Chaos broke out in the capital of Russia. Some members of parliament met even though the tsar had forbidden it. They claimed that they were in charge of the country. They locked up the previous ministers and founded a new government.

The new government quickly prevailed. The Soviet also found it good. “Soviet” is a Russian word and means advice. The Soviet was an assembly of people elected by workers and soldiers. More precisely, there were several councils in the country. The Soviet in the capital had demanded from the new government that, for example, the demonstrators should not be punished and that people should be allowed to speak their minds.

Why was there another revolution?

Besides the new government, the Soviet continued to exist. Both organs began to argue. The main question was whether Russia should continue to wage war.

In addition, the communists grew stronger. Their leader Lenin came back to Russia from abroad in April 1917. Finally, the communists staged a coup: their supporters captured the most important buildings in the capital. Since then they have had power, at least in the capital. That is the real October Revolution according to the European calendar. According to our calendar, it took place on the night of November 6th to 7th.

The communist government finally had a new parliament elected. In the new parliament only a quarter of the members were communist. That is why the communist government quickly abolished parliament. There were still many strong opponents of the communists. While the Communists were called the "Reds", the opponents were the "Whites".

Then there was a civil war in Russia: it took the communists about three years to conquer all of Russia. In 1922 they made the Soviet Union out of the former Russian Empire.


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