1917 - 1921
Unlike Western European nations, Russia
did not industrialize quickly  czars
unwilling to give up wealth & power.
Czars are oppressive, poor leadership &
ruthless treatment toward peasants
Secret revolutionary groups plot to
overthrow government & assassinated
Alexander II (he’s for reforms!)
Set up autocracy  absolute rule or dictatorship
Stopped all reforms  anyone tagged as a
revolutionary or spoke language other than
Russian = dangerous
Had secret police spy on everyone, including
students  teachers provided reports
Persecuted Jews & had to live in separate areas
Followed father 
refused to give up any power
Under him, Russia became 4th largest producer of
steel & created Trans-Siberian Railway (longest
rail line)
Forced rapid industrialization  poor working
conditions, child labor, low wages, no unions
Huge gap between rich & poor; people starting to
rise up
Russia & Japan both want Korea & Manchuria;
tried to sign agreements, but Russia broke them
 Lost Russo-Japanese War
“Bloody Sunday” 1905  200,000 unarmed
workers stormed czar’s winter palace with
petition for better working conditions &
freedoms; soldiers fired at crowd
Final blow: World War I  defeated at many
battles w/Germans, showed weakness of czar
Shortages of bread & fuel
Born a peasant in Siberia, Rasputin became a
religious teacher, although he was never
ordained as a priest. This sinister monk
seemed to cast a hypnotic spell on people,
especially Czarina Alexandra & her son.
Rasputin was known for having mysterious
He was reportedly taking control of the country, so
in December 1916 a small group of aristocrats
planned his assassination. They fed him
poisoned cakes, but apparently it had no effect
on him. Then, they shot him several times.
Assuming he was finally dead, they threw him
in the Neva River. When his body was
discovered 3 days later, doctors confirmed the
cause of his death—drowning.
Rasputin’s death sent the czarina into shock. His
prediction haunted her: “If I die or you desert
me, in six months you will lose your son and
your throne
For about 65 years after the execution of Czar
Nicholas II & his family, a woman named
Anna Anderson claimed that she was the
Grand Duchess Anastasia, the czar’s sole
surviving daughter. According to Anna,
she managed to escape her assassins.
Anna’s regal manners & detailed knowledge
about the Romanov family convinced many
that she was telling the truth. Others
believed she was a fraud seeking personal
gain. Anna held fast to her story until her
death in 1984.
In 1993, scientists finally solved the 75-yearold mystery. Prince Philip of Britain is a
living descendant of Czarina Alexandra.
Scientists compared his DNA to Anna
Anderson’s. The DNA proved that Anna
was not a blood relative of the Romanovs.
Instead, she carried the DNA of polish
Czar Nicholas & family executed  Romanov
rule ended
Revolutionary group that followed Nicholas II
 followed views of Karl Marx & wanted
radical change
Leader: Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov  adopted
name LENIN
Great organizer & personality, but ruthless guy
 Fled country until his party fully took control
Peasants want land
City workers want better
working conditions
Revolutionaries form SOVIETS : local councils
of workers, peasants, & soldiers  had more
influence than Provisional Government
LENIN RETURNS! Germany “helps” 
believed Lenin would stir up more unrest &
hurt Russian war effort
Took power  slogan, “Peace, Land, & Bread”
Bolshevik “Red Guards” took over provisional gov’t
in few hours
Distributed all farmland to peasants & control of
factories to workers
Signed Treaty of Brest-Litovsk (Russia out of WWI)
 Russians humiliated
“White Army” tried to stop increasing Bolshevik demand
 lost
Restructuring government  New Economic
Policy (NEP) was small version of capitalism
Allowed peasants to sell surplus of crops vs.
turning them over to government & people
could buy/sell goods for profit
Kept nationalism in check by organizing Russia
into several self-governing republics under
central government  country renamed Union
of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR)
Bolsheviks renamed Communist Party
Defeat in Russo-Japanese War in 1905
Landless peasantry & horrible working conditions
“Bloody Sunday”
Incompetence of Czar Nicholas II
Repeat military defeats
High casualties in World War I
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