How did the conditions in Russia lead to two revolutions in Russia in 1917?

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How did the conditions in Russia lead to two revolutions in Russia in 1917?

The Russian Revolution is a major event in Russian history which took place in 1917, during the final phase of First World War. It involved a great change in Russian society, as it removed Russia from a war that was not their war anymore, and provoked the transformation of the Russian Empire into the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).The Russia’s traditional monarchy was replaced with the first Communist state of the world. There were two separate coups, one in February and one in October. In the February Revolution, the Tsar abdicated his throne and the Provisional Government took power. A few months later, the Bolsheviks overthrew the Provisional Government. It took three years of civil war, which ended in 1920, to this new communist government, led by Vladimir Lenin, to solidify its power. These two revolts were caused by long term tensions which somehow explain both coups, and at the same time, by specific and immediate conditions related to each revolution.

Although the two revolutions which took place in Russia in 1917 happened abruptly, they cannot be fully comprehend without a deep understanding of the situation of the Tsarist Empire from the 1890s until the outbreak of First World War. Nicholas II, the Tsar of Russia from 1894 to 1917, had to face many problems which plagued his country during his time in power. These difficulties were economic, political, social and military, and usually were related to each other. In the economic field, there was a huge gap between the rich and the poor, increased by the rapid industrialization of a still undeveloped Russia, which led to a newly created working class that lacked of rights and protections in the workplace. In addition, the country had had agrarian problems which lasted since 1861, when the redemption payments began, and which even grew with the unsuccessful government initiative of the Peasant Bank Land. Thus, as cities were becoming overcrowded, food shortages were growing more and more common. This economic situation explains the social crisis which Russia suffered, as they still had a pyramidal social structure, with very few people in power and a large peasant class. Politically, the country was ruled by an autocratic government which had to deal with a new issue: the Tsar had to decide upon the balance between the traditional political structure of the Tsarist Russia, and the massive socio-economic forces that were operating within the Russian Empire. The great revolutionary outburst of 1905, caused in part by the Bloody Sunday, was a proof of the government’s failure to adapt politically to the substantial social and economic changes that had taken place. These difficult conditions were worsened due to the failure of the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905): a conflict which was going to be the solution to Russia’s social and economic problems ended up undermining the moral of the population even more.

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As said above, the increasing and poor proletarian class, the inability of the autocracy to solve the Land Problem, the existence of an entrenched class structure with no possibility of social mobility, and the defeat suffered by the antiquated Russian army against the Japanese troops, together with the characteristic lack of freedom and rights of an absolutist monarchy, established a very likely to revolution and unstable condition for the Russian Empire, which has usually been referred by historians as a “giant with feet of clay” during this period.

In addition to those long-term causes, it is also possible to ...

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