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What were the causes of the Russian Revolution in March 1917?

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Introduction

< What were the causes of the Russian Revolution in March 1917? > Revolution is an act of making a successful, violent attempt to change or remove a government. The word 'successful' makes a revolution somewhat a big thing, because there usually are changes after a revolution. However, a revolution does not happen in a short time because of a trivial reason, but happens over a long time of significant events. This is true especially in Russian Revolution in March 1917's case. One of the very long term causes of the Russian Revolution in March 1917 are the economic causes. At the beginning of the twentieth century, all the peasants were living a hard life. Their main food was grain made into rye bread or porridge, and cabbage soup, which did not contain enough nutrition for the peasants who had to work all day in the farm without any animal and sometimes even without tools. Pies and pancakes were delicacies only eaten on religious days and at festivals. However, that was when the harvests were good and when there was food to go around. When the harvests were bad, there was starvation and disease: 400,000 people died in 1891 when crop failure coupled with cholera hit the countryside. The fact that peasants lived in highly unhygienic cottages where the temperature inside is hardly any higher than outside, crowded with people did not help to prevent or stop the disease. There were regular epidemics of typhus and diphtheria, and syphilis was widespread. Typically, Russian peasants wore coarse woollen shirts and trousers and peaked caps that were as worn out as rags. If they were well off, they could afford to buy a pair of leather boots, but that was as far as they could go. Nevertheless, the biggest problem of the peasants was their land. The peasants used the backward strip method of farming as a result of Socialism-each family had 20 to 30 narrow strips scattered around the village. ...read more.

Middle

He used force to close down the St Petersburg Soviet and crushed an armed uprising in Moscow. He sent out troops to take revenge on workers and peasants who had rioted and bring them under control. Although most of the problems in the cities had stopped by the end of 1905, violence continued in the countryside until 1906. The Tsar appointed Peter Stolypin as Prime Minister to deal with this matter. Stolypin was a tough man, and he set up military courts, which could sentence and hang a person on the spot. These courts executed thousands. The Okrana, the secret police, were still very active at this point, with thousands of informers. Everybody had to carry internal passports and travellers had to register with the police in order to travel outside their home districts. Newspapers were often fined for writing articles offending the government and frequently appeared with white spaces where material had been censored even though freedom of the press had been guaranteed in 1905. The Duma, which appeared in April 1906, was absolutely powerless. They could not pass laws, could not appoint ministers and could not control finance in important areas such as defence, and the Tsar could dismiss them whenever he wished. In addition, the elections favoured the nobles; there was one representative for every 2,000 nobles, but one for every 90,000 workers. Despite these disadvantages, the first two Dumas of 1906 and 1907 were quite thorough, demanding more power for themselves and rights for ordinary people. They also demanded that more land should be given to the peasants. However, the Tsar dissolved both Dumas after a few weeks. Stolypin changed the way of the election of the third Duma to favour the gentry and urban rich even more and as a result, the third Duma was more conservative than its previous ones. Even this Duma, though, who lasted for about 5 years, was often critical of the government and some good things were done through them. ...read more.

Conclusion

What was the main cause of the revolution in 1917? What caused the ultimate ruler to abdicate? Were the failures of the Tsar before and during the war the main cause, or was the army taking side the main cause? I think it is impossible to settle on one cause and say that this was the main cause. It is true that the Tsar has been making many mistakes and caused his people to suffer, which made him very unpopular. It is also true that the army had taken a crucial role in the revolution by changing their sides and supporting the people instead of the Tsar. This is a very important part for the revolution of 1917 differs from the revolution of 1905 because of this. If the army did not support the people, the revolution may not have happened. If the army agreed to crush the demonstrations down, it may have finished just like any other riots. However, if it did finish that way, would it carry on that way forever? I think not. I think the revolution must have happened at some point to change all the unfairness and injustice. The Tsar has been suppressing his people for too long just like a lid of a saucepan without a hole. As the food cooks inside the saucepan, the pressure inside it will also increase. If this process carries on, the pressure inside the saucepan becomes unbearable and eventually, the whole thing explodes. I think this is what happened in Russia. Long time of suffering and unfairness has eventually led into a revolution to change the country into a better one. I would not blame the Tsar either, even though he did make some obvious mistakes such as taking the charge of the army, because it was a very difficult time to rule with the war going on. There are some things that have to happen as the time changes, and I think the revolution of March 1917 was one of them. ...read more.

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