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12.2 The Course of the Russian Revolution

During the year 1917, two revolutions took place in Russia. The February revolution of 1917 led to the defeat of Czarism, and a republic was established in its place. However the October Revolution of 1917 established the dictatorship of the proletariat (i.e. the laboring class).

The February revolution of 1917 began with the bread riots on February 23. This was followed by a general industrial strike on February 25, in Petrograd. The entire Petrograd garrison and the police, joined the revolution by February 27, and by the following day, Petrograd fell into the hands of the revolutionaries.

The February revolution was the spontaneous outbreak of a large number of workers and peasants. By February 27, two organizations came into existence namely the Provisional Committee of the Duma and the Provisional Executive Committee of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers’ Deputies. The latter which represented factory workers, social revolutionaries, Mensheviks and Bolsheviks was to guide the revolution.

The Czarist ministers were arrested on February 28, 1917 and Commissars were appointed in their place by the Provisional Committee of the Duma. The mutiny of the troops occurred on March 1, 1917. Though the Czar Nicholas II was forced to abdicate on March 2, 1917, all the members of the royal family remained under house arrest, until they were shot dead on July 16, 1918. This brought the Czarism in Russia to an end.


A provisional coalition government came into existence by March 3, 1917, under the premiership of Prince George Lvov. The Allied powers soon recognized the provisional government; it was considered the ’legal successor’ to the Czarist government.

However, an ever-increasing number of workers and soldiers came to recognize the Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers. Thus a Dual Power was established by the revolution, namely the Provisional Government and the government of the Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies. The latter was soon established in all cities, towns and districts. The first All -Russian Congress was announced by the end of March, 1917.

Exhibit 12.3
The leader of the October Revolution, Lenin

The brilliant leadership and the moving spirit of Lenin was responsible for the October Revolution in Russia. Under his leadership, the Bolsheviks criticized and exposed the shortcomings of the Provisional Government. A huge armed demonstration was held against the Provisional Government in Petrograd, on July 17, 1917. Prime Minister George Lvov was forced to resign. He was succeeded by Alexander Kerensky as the new Prime Minister.

Index

12.0 - Introduction
12.1 Causes of theRussian Revolution
12.2 The Course of the Russian Revolution
12.3 Consequences and Significance of the Russian Revolution
12.4 Dates & Events
12.5 Points to Remember

Chapter 13





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