The Road to the
Russian Revolution
By:
Ms. Valdner & Mr. Patten
Global History II
Mepham High School
The Beginning of the End
1861 to 1905
The Life of a Serf
 Serfs [an agricultural
worker] in Russia were on
the bottom rung of the
social ladder.
 They worked the land and
produced the food for the
giant country.
 Very harsh life average
age of 35.
 Out dated techniques,
short growing season,
cold climate, cruel
landlords, resulted in
poverty for serfs
What was life like for the
serfs?
Tsar Alexander II
 “It is better to
abolish serfdom
from above than to
await the time
when it will begin
to abolish itself
from below.”
-Tsar Alexander II
to Moscow nobility,
March 1856
The “Tsar Liberator”
 Russia was experiencing economic pressure,
social unrest, and falling behind Western
Nations.
 Russia’s Step for Modernization by
Alexander II
 Eliminate the system of serfdom
 Jury trials and relaxed censorship laws
 Created zemstvos [local elected assemblies] to address
local issues such as taxation and education
 Increased industrial production
 Expanded transportation such as the railroad
What steps did Alexander II
take to modernize Russia?
In your opinion, do you think that
Alexander’s reforms were
successful? Why or why not?
Tsar Alexander III
 Alexander III
believed that
western ideals were
incompatible with
“the very nature of
Russian character.”
The Tsar Takes a Step Back
 Alexander III (1881-1894) wanted nothing to
do with reforms.
 Called for a policy known as “Russification,”
which attempted to assimilate all nonRussian people.
 Rigid censorship was imposed on people.
 Secret police looked for those suspected of
revolutionary ideas.
What steps did Alexander
III take to roll back his
father’s reforms in Russia?
As a result, what feelings do you
think arise in the people of
Russia?
Karl Marx
Struggle Between
Social Classes
Workers of the
World Unite!
The Haves
vs.
the Have Nots
Classless
Society
The Ideas of Karl Marx
“We seized [take hold of] upon Marxism because we
were attracted by its economic optimism [getting
better], that Marxism was developing a new
economy, with new social forces (including the
lower working class) which would certainly sweep
away the autocratic regime [the tsars rule]. With
the optimism [positive feelings] of youth we had
been searching for a formula that offered hope, and
we found it in Marxism.”
- Nikolai Valentinov
In 1891, why did the ideas
of Karl Marx appeal to so
many in Russia?
Difficult Times for Nicholas II
“The tragic aspect of the
situation is that the
Tsar is living in an utter
fool’s paradise,
thinking that He is as
strong and all-powerful
as before.”
-From the diary of an advisor to the tsar,
October 1, 1905
Russo-Japanese War
(1904-1905)
 Conflict over Manchuria




& Korea
Nicholas II thought war
with Japan would be
easy
Russia possessed
outdated weapons &
was poorly supplied
Japan modernized
(Mejii Restoration)
Clear defeat for Russia
How did the war with
Japan increase tension in
Russia?
“Bloody Sunday”
January 9, 1905
“I saw these looks of
hatred and vengeance
on literally every face;
old and young, men
and women. The
revolution had been
truly born, and it had
been born in the very
core, in the very
bowels of the people.”
-Bolshevik Martyn Liadov
Nicholas II Attempts at
Reforms
“The slogan of “freedom”
must become the
slogan of government
activity. There is no
other way of saving the
state…The advance of
human progress is
unstoppable. The idea
of human freedom will
triumph, if not by way
of reform, than by way
of revolution.”
Count Sergei Witte
 The October
Manifesto
 Expanded civil
liberties
 A limited monarchy
 Universal suffrage
 Trade union &
political parties
legalized
How did Tsar Nicholas II
attempt to deal with the
situation in Russia?
The Rise of Political Groups
 Liberals: Favored
evolutionary change
towards a more
Western European
system of
government.
 Two main Liberal
parties:
 Kadets
 Octobrists
 Socialists: They
favored a
revolutionary
remaking of Russian
society.
 Two main Socialist
parties:
 Social Democrats
 Social
Revolutionaries
Mensheviks vs. Bolsheviks
 The Mensheviks were
 The Bolsheviks, led by
Marxists.
 Believed in a patient
approach to political
change.
 Socialism in Russia
only after it had been
achieved in the West.
 The Menshevik’s goal
was to pave the way for
revolution by organizing
the workers toward
class awareness
Lenin, were Marxists
who favored a socialist
party that was directed
by a small elite.
 Only militant
revolutionaries could
prevail then the masses
could come into the
party.
 Workers needed the
Bolshevik leaders to
guide their work in the
street and the factories.
Who were the major
political groups in Russia &
what were their beliefs for
the future of Russia?
“We Can No Longer Live Like
This”
 Russian peasants
experienced:
 Food shortages
 Rigid social classes
 Corrupt government
 Few factories
 Poverty
 Lack of clothes &
food
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Men & Women stand in line to collect their bread
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What were some of the
major problems that a
Russian peasant
experienced?
How could this problems lead to
unrest in Russia?
Russia Enters the World War
in August 1914
“Unarmed men had to
be sent into the
trenches to wait till
their comrades
were killed or
wounded and their
rifles become
available”
-Report from a British officer in Russia
The Effect of War on Russia
 Russia leaves the war in
late 1916
 Heavy losses of men
 3.6 million dead or
wounded
 2.1 prisoner of war
 Weapon shortages
 Increased hunger &
refugees
 Spending money, but
losing the war
How did World War I affect
Russia?
The Monarchy Self-Destructs
 Nicholas’s wife seeks




help from Rasputin.
A peasant “holy man”
semi-literate
Bragged about control
of governmental offices
& church
Corrupt, received
bribes, & sexual favors
He damaged the
monarchy
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Who was Rasputin?
The 1917 Revolution Begins
“Comrades, if we cannot get a loaf of bread
for ourselves in a righteous way, then we
must do everything: we must go ahead and
solve our problems by force…Comrades, arm
yourselves with everything possible-bolts,
screws, rocks, and go out of the factory and
start smashing the first shops you find.”
-A Striker
The Revolution of 1917
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Russia Debates Its Future
“ A miracle has happened, and we may expect more
miracles…almost anything might happen.”
-March 23, 1917 poet Alexander Blok
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What do you think the
future holds for Russia?
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Causes Russian Revolution