The Russian Revalution Power to the proletariat

Sasidharan Puthiyedathmeethal

The Tsarist empire crumbled as marxian ideology heralded a new era


The Russian Revolution, popularly called the Great October Revolution, was the first successful communist revolution in the world. Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, who formulated the Marxist ideology, which was the guiding spirit behind the revolution, had never anticipated the probability of a socialist revolution happening first in Russia. They thought it more likely in highly developed capitalist countries like Germany and Britain.
Causes of the Revolution
In Russia the Tsar was the absolute ruler of the State and the Church. Feudalism and serfdom prevailed across the country. The condition of the peasants and workers was pathetic. The government was corrupt and nepotic. The Tsarist government had become unpopular with Russia’s defeat in the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-05.
Bloody Sunday, a dress rehearsal
Workers organized a huge march at Petrograd on 9 January 1905. However, the march was ruthlessly suppressed. This event known as the Bloody Sunday was a dress rehearsal of the October Revolution of 1917. Workers formed a new organization called “the Soviets”. The beleaguered Tsar promised to create a parliament known as the Duma.
“The proletarians have nothing
to lose but their chains”
As the 19th century ended, Marxian communism began to influence the intelligentsia and the working class in Russia. Radical thinkers like Gorky, Tolstoy, Turgenev and Dostoevsky, challenged the values of the old order. The concluding statements of the manifesto of the Communist Party, “Let the ruling classes tremble at a communist revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win,” reverberated throughout Russia. The immediate cause of the revolution was Russia’s defeat in the First World War and the ensuing famine.
Course of the Revolution
Russia witnessed two revolutions in 1917, one in March and the other in November. Since the Russian calendar was thirteen days behind the international calendar, the revolutions which took place in March and November came to be known as the February and October revolutions respectively.
Meanwhile, the Social Democratic Workers Party, founded in 1898 by Marxian socialists, was divided into two groups. The minority Mensheviks were headed by Kerensky. The majority Bolsheviks were led by Lenin and Trotsky. The February Revolution overthrew the Tsarist government and a provisional government was formed under Kerensky.
However, in April 1917, Lenin returned to Russia from exile. In October 1917, the Bolsheviks overthrew the Kerensky government and established a communist government under Lenin. This event is known as the October Revolution.
Impact and influence
of the Revolution
Russia withdrew from the First World War. Industries and banks were nationalized. The estates of the landlords, the Church and the Tsar were confiscated and redistributed among the peasants. Centralised planning was introduced on the basis of which were made the Five-Year Plans. From Russia, Marxian communism spread to other countries of the world such as China.

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