Russian Revolution The Russian Revolution did not happen overnight, and there were different stages that took place. There are so many small things that fit in to the bigger picture it is hard to put where and how the Russian Revolution started and ended. Russia was run backwards compared to all other countries in Western Europe. The peasants working and living conditions were very bad. The government badly wanted to industrialize in urban areas. For the government to do this they needed money, they got this money by taxing the peasantry.
In 1905 is the beginning of the revolution was more rioting behavior than revolutionary behavior by the peasantry. In October of 1917 the Russian revolution turned in to a coup d''etat when the Bolsheviks took power. The Russian Revolution was not a revolution of the proletariat but a coup d''etat. January 22, 1905, commonly known as Bloody Sunday, was the beginning of the Russian Revolution. "Father Gapon led a group of demonstrators to bring economic grievances to the tsar.
Police fired upon the demonstrators as they approached the Winter Palace." (Outline, 2) The revolution started with a priest leading demonstrators to the Winter Palace, not the working class or the peasantry. The peasants living conditions were bad, and the government was making the situation worse by taxing harshly. "The urban revolution of 1905 stimulated the most serious peasant uprising since the Pugachev revolt in the late eighteenth century. Peasant rioting consisted of the sacking and burning of manor houses and attacks on landowners and officials." (Fitzpatrick, 34) The peasantry was showing signs of rioting behavior, but not revolutionary change. During October of 1905 the Tsar Nicholas the II agreed to an elected parliament called the Duma.
The Duma was given very limited powers that would not be able to make much change. The revolution of February and October were a coup d''etat. Just like the first revolution of 1905 it was seen by some to have a proletariat base. Women wanted to find and end to the Great War to bring their husband's home. "Seven million men were under arms at the beginning of 1917, with two million in the reserve.
To the soldiers, the February Revolution was an implicit promise that the war would soon end, and they waited impatiently for the provisional government to achieve this." (Fitzpatrick, 52) The men in the Russian Army had suffered many losses and wanted out of the war. They supported the February Revolution but it did not succeed. During the October Revolution the Bolsheviks were able to seize power. They only had twenty five percent of the popular vote, so it definitely wasn't a popular revolution.
The civil war started between the Reds (Bolsheviks) versus the White Guard (anti-Bolshevik). The Red army was comprised of members of the working class and peasantry. The Red army would shoot any of their own men that would retreat from the front lines. The Bolsheviks made the revolution look like the proletariat was fighting for them, but did this by enforcing red terror. The Russian Revolution was not one by the working class or peasantry, but by a smaller number of people taking over the government.
The peasantry and the working class both wanted change, but the majority of the population was not supportive of the Bolsheviks. The Bolsheviks seized power not by a proletariat revolution but by a coup d''etat.