5.1 The Russian Revolution (1917)
The Russian Revolution was the most significant incident
in the History of Europe. This Bolshevik Revolution ushered in social,
political and economic equality. It gave a turn to the current thoughts
of socialism and communism. The communists in Russia struck at Czarism
vehemently through a revolution and established a communist regime. Their
communism was based on the doctrines of Marx.
The roots of the Russian Revolution lie deeply embedded
in the history of the nation. The administration of the Czar was weak,
corrupt and also autocratic. Czar Nicholas II (1894-1917) announced that
he would preserve his principles of autocracy as firmly and unswervingly
as his predecessor. An inflexible and inefficient bureaucracy ran the
government. In 1906, the Russian Parliament i.e. the Duma did not have
full authority over legislation and finance.
Control over ministers was also in the hands of the Czar
and his supporters. The budget and the fundamental laws were also away
from the reach of Duma. Besides this, individual freedom and freedom of
the Press were restricted. The church was still in the favor of the divine
rights of the King. It gave an opportunity to the Czar to do what he liked.
The Czar’s army was greatly obliged to him as they had been given many
facilities to lead a comfortable life. So they did not oppose him.
The Revolution of Russia in 1905 had created a political
consciousness among the Russian people. The meaning of 'Parliament,'
'vote' and 'representation' were above the understanding of the
illiterate people of the country. They just wanted to throw away
the hated Czarist regime. The people of Russia were now influenced
by the communist views. They knew that communism would abolish capitalism
and set up such a regime which would give power to work and laborers.
So they joined the communist block en masse. The middle class
was deeply impressed by the modern education and the new wave of
thought that ran across Europe. Many books were translated into
the languages of people. The educated middle class now believed
that if these new principles were applied to the social and political
spheres, the situation would change and favor them.
In the First World War (1917 - 18) the allies were helped
by Russians. They took active part in the war in the beginning but as
the war progressed, the conditions of the country worsened. These socio-economic
conditions worsened to such an extent that there was an acute shortage
of fuel, food (cereals) and cloth. The prices of articles spiraled and
capitalists came to possess the commodities. The poor, common people had
great difficulties in finding food for themselves. And the government
was not able to employ reform policies under these conditions. In order
to improve the condition of Russia, a committee was set up to make an
appeal to the Czar that he should personally take care of the matters
of the government. But the Czar, wallowing in luxury, found little time
to look into the matters of the state and the condition of his people.
Thus the people of his land revolted against him.