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Why was there a revolution in Russia in the spring of 1917?

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Introduction

Why was there a revolution in Russia in the spring of 1917? By 1917 the Romanovs, Russia's royal family had been controlling Russia for over three hundred years. Russia was an autocracy, which meant that the Tsar had total power. Although there was a parliament, the Duma, it had little influence and could only criticize the Tsar's government. Tsar Nicholas II, who was in control at the time, was a weak and incompetent ruler. He allowed himself to be influenced by people who did not want any changes to take place in Russia. It is very clear that Russia at this time was still very much a "19th century country in a 20th century world" and the terrible circumstances of the ordinary people illustrate this fact. There were still huge differences between the rich and the poor. About four-fifths of the population were peasants, many of whom could not read or write. In the towns workers were squashed into very poor accommodation and received little pay for long days. People were terrified of speaking out about the harsh conditions as the Tsar's government often used violence against the people. During an attempt at a revolution in 1905 over 9,000 people were executed. If there were disturbances in the streets the government would use Cossacks (soldiers from southern Russia) ...read more.

Middle

Due to this she relied heavily on the influence of Gregory Rasputin a "mad monk" believed to have powerful visions and healing powers. Alexandra thought her son would die without Rasputin and he became her constant companion. The Russian people disliked Rasputin even more than the Tsarina, as it was well known that Rasputin was Alexandra's closest confidant. They suspected he was trying to control Russia through her and he became known sarcastically as the "true lord of All the Russia's". During his many drunken parties, the monk would boast of his exploits with the Empress and her daughters, even going as far as proclaiming that the Tsar was at his fingertips. After several attempts, Rasputin was finally murdered in 1916, by cyanide poisoning. Despite the many problems outlined, the Tsar did not think that any single one could cause a powerful enough revolution to overcome the entire tsarist empire and he constantly ignored the Dumas's plea of help. Yet, despite this no one anticipated the very sudden and unexpected revolution ended the Romanov dynasty in less then a week in March of 1917. The revolution had not been planned, nor was it directed by any organized political group. ...read more.

Conclusion

When he finally arrived, his train was stopped. With no military backing or parliamentary support (the majority of the Dumas supported the people and had ignored the Tsars orders for them to disband), the last Romanov tsar Nicholas II, abdicated the throne on March 2 (or on March 15th) on behalf of himself and his son. His brother, Grand Duke Michael, in whose favour Nicholas had abdicated, followed suit. The Russian Empire was without an emperor and The Romanov dynasty, which had held power for over three hundred years, was over. Overall, I conclude that there was no single cause to the revolution in the spring of 1917. One simple protest due to bread and wage shortages could not have gone so far had other factors not been involved. It was more the accumulation of social and economic hardships combined with the negatives attitudes towards the royal family and its system of government. The country's economic condition was very backward, which made it unable to sustain the war effort against powerful, industrialized Germany. Russian manpower was virtually inexhaustible. Russian industry, however, lacked the capacity to arm, equip, and supply the some 15 million men who were sent into the war. When these harsh factors are examined it is not surprising that protests were ignited by the Russian people, leading to the overthrow of the Tsar and the ending of the Romanov dynasty. Katie Taylor 10H 4/27/07 ...read more.

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