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Russo Japanese war broke out in 1904 and this resulted to the 1905 revolution in which most Russian military and naval forces were defeated. During that time there was shortage of food in most cities this had led to formation of soviets in Moscow and St. Petersburg. One Sunday many armament workers in a peaceful demonstration at winter palace in St Petersburg were massacred by Cossacks and this marked the beginning of Russian revolution.
Father Gapon who was the leader wanted to plead Tsar a petition for enhancement of living conditions and increase their freedom of expression. The Riots went as far as Odessa, Black Sea Port and Moscow and at Moscow the soviets were formed. Though as implied by director Eisenstein that this rebellion would give momentum to a fresh revolutionary movement, ultimately, the 1905 revolution got suppressed in the short term when mutinies from both army and naval were brought, (Rieber, 1982)
Russia's loss in opposition to Japan at Port Arthur and their defeat at Tsushima weakened Tsar's government. Some of e tings tat marked the organized soviets of workers, soldiers and sailors was that they were elected democratically from their workplaces barracks and from ships but they given no privileges and at any time they would be called back by their electors and this was one of the things that marked the revolution defeated.
The source of Tsar's government was that most peasants Loved Tsar and most of hem regarded him as a father whose empowerment was from God and at that time the church was very powerful and in support to the government, this was however shattered in 1905, following the massacre of the peaceful soviet demonstrators and assassinations, Prime Minister stolypin who was murdered in 1911. Also celebrations which accompanied the Romanov dynasty had greatly increased Tsars popularity. Nobles controlled the army and the government and they used Cossacks to deal with protests, (Rieber, 1982).
Suppression of the 1905 revolution and assumption of a united nation was however a mask because this indeed marked the commencement of an imperialist war exposing every rotten thing that sharpened Russia's social contradictions and deepened the ultimate revolutionary upheavals, (Gatrell, 1986).
Approximately 15 million peasants joined the army where they faced consistent misery that opened their mind to the working class ideas. About 800,000 workers were working at Moscow in defense industries and 300,000 others in Petrograd in huge factories. This reduced the struggles in the cities and country side and there was a great willpower to do away with Tsarist autocracy.
It's common that most revolutions begin when top rulers split in the best course of action. Russia was one of the most back warded nations industrially, in Europe and the war that broke out in 1905 had burdened the nation and by January 1916 a strike of war against food shortages was slowly building up as implied by Lenin's that capitalism broke out at its Russia's weakest position. The war got support of 80 percent of the working class who embraced patriotism driving out ideas of the Bolsheviks who opposed the imperialist war. The mystical cleric Rasputin was murdered a palace coup arranged to remove Tsar and Tsarina, this marked the split of the ruling class. The war raised tension through out Russia and the bread ration for the army was reduced by a third for the period between December 1916 and the beginning of 1917 food shortage was eminent every where, (Friedgut, 1989).
Approximately 90,000 women mainly the textile workers and some soldiers' wives went on strike demanding bread on international women's day and many industrial workers from Petrograd joined them and this politically challenged the regime. Bolshevik workers organization opposed the strike and this only increased forces for revolution. This time the police and the Cossacks as initially used by the government to suppress riots would not manage to bring down the crowd and were actually fought by the crowd. And in some place soldiers and the crowd united which meant their penetration to barracks and accessing rifles; this marked an armed body of workers amounting the war to high levels.
There was a lot of assumption in the unfolding of events; Tsar thought it would just work as it worked out for him n 1905 but this time as acknowledged by Rodzianko, one of Russian presidents it was already too late for any action to suppress the war with Tsar being attacked the following day at Tauride palace. Eventually the Menshevik and SR leaders surrendered power to an unelected government (provisional government) led by liberal capitalists, the Kadets who were constitutional democrats arguing that workers should not take power but rather should support the liberal bourgeoisie to overcome feudalism, enhance land distribution and establish a democratic regime which would lead to modern development as was the case for France in 1789.
Though Lenin warned against such illusions, none of the Marxists in Russia differed with the presumed fact that the alliance of the peasant and working class would reduce feudalism. The banks in Russian formed a link between the capitalists and the feudal land owners which fought every effort for land reform which was deemed as one of the fundamental tasks of the capitalist revolution. Another link between the capitalists and feudalists was that Russian capitalists drew their biggest share of investment fro the Anglo-French capital. This challenged the hunger for democratic peace in the war since power remained in the landlords and the capitalists' hands, (Gatrell, 1986).
Kadet had faced opposition from tsarist regime which opposed free capitalist development and were afraid of the peasants and workers revolutionary movement, they negotiated with Tsar for a constitutional monarchy rather than tackling revolution of the democratic bourgeois-democratic revolution. Most lower ranking people in tsarist government and the workers who were less active politically supported the Mensheviks who thought that the revolution had overthrown autocracy and would soon bring resolution to war and land crisis and that's how the Mensheviks eventually became leaders of the Soviets, this however was only an effect of revolution driving masses to take a path of least resistance
By then all the top Bolshevik leaders had gone to exile or abroad and confusions amounted amongst Bolshevik leaders who were still in Petrograd especially with the coming back of Kamenev, Stalin and Muranov from exile, the two pioneered the Pravda newspaper and advocated for national defense which portrayed he Bolsheviks as opposing to the capitalist government. Their issues in the Pravda led to a storm of indignation amongst workers and though observed caution, they still defended provisional government and its policies. AS Lenin from Switzerland insisted in hi review of series of revolution, it was not evident that only a workers government would bring peace and freedom In Russia. Though he received a lot of critic from the Mensheviks who held that the revolution was democratic and not socialist he held his position that the way to carry through the democratic revolution was by transfer of power to the working class.
One of the things that had led to collapse of the tsarist regime was the mass movement of the working class; soldiers and sailors placing powers in hands of reformist leaders which led to opposing dual powers which was characterized by a provisional government whose leaders were attempting to maintain order and on the other hand soviet leader whose desire was to overthrow capitalism. This lasted up to July after when the Bolsheviks gained majority in soviets and this rested the power on the working class.
There are many events that led to the fall of Tsarist in 1917; one of the key issues was the humiliation of Russia by Japan in the Russo-Japan war in 1904. Also the presence of many nationalities with the only unity being the Romanov dynasty, Russia's population by then was approximately 125 million all over Europe and Asia which was hard for the government to manage with the poor infrastructure. (Gatrell, 1986).
The largest percentage of population depended on farming and used out of date methods under the control of nobles. Also Russia was starting to industrialize but the poverty among workers was rising and their live in very poor conditions in Petrograd .This is one of the reasons why the government, no matter the efforts did not make to suppress the workers war. Looking at Tsar's governance we recognize Tsar Nicholas, one of the autocrats role in the government where he is overloaded by Tsar, though he refused to compromise, the amounting opposition from social revolutionaries and the communists(likes of Karl Marx), he eventually compromised failing to act in the midst of crisis.
The Petrograd Soviet proved dominant building a broad network of Soviets and these soviets took their orders, for instance where they forbade soldiers and workers in obeying a provisional government that was established, this built great resistance towards the government and the established provisional government did nothing to subside the power of the those soviets. The resistance was propelled by the terrible situation of Inflation and hunger that even got worsened by the war. Following Kornilov pro pro-Tsar coup in August 1917 which placed the provisional government under attack, The Provisional Government did not have any control of the army which forced them to request for the Bolsheviks assistance which portrayed the government weak adding to Bolsheviks popularity as the soviets leaders.
The 1905 revolution failed solve the questions that faced the Russian state sine the starting of the twentieth century, indeed First World War initiated a set of political challenges, economic and social issues with which it was not possible for the Tsarist regime to endure.
Russia revolution in 1917 which resulted to collapsing of the Tsarist regime also went along with economic meltdown as well as social atomization. Millions of Russians had lost their lives but upon Bolshevik seizure of supremacy in October 1917, the painful memory of subsumed into the revolutionary history. The Bolsheviks allotted themselves as leaders in various government ministries taking control of the countryside, they established Cheka to cruelly nullify rebel. To mark the end of the war the leadership of Bolshevik signed the Brest-litovsk treaty with Germany later in March 1918.
The autocrats unwillingness to award political reforms and the rising political radicalism among students and the lower working class, who felt duty to generate a more just society due to the situation which rendered the peasants as 2nd class subjects of the Tsar which continued to raise social tensions. There was no stable base to support the peasants and the middle class in political and liberal reforms since the 1905 revolution did not achieve long lasting reforms, and the rise of fundamental socialist political parties which were dedicated to cause the downfall of both Tsarism and capitalism as well. Tsar did not also fulfill his promises which he made saying that he would create the Duma parliament (elected parliament), he had promised to recognize the civil rights of all subjects, instead the Duma electoral laws rather weakened any possible opposition.
Tsar Nicholas II conduct together with that of his entourage undermined any raze of popular legality left to the monarchy, this n addition to the strains that were experience during the period in both economy and socially, resulted to Tsarist failure to act against the war. Tsarist government assumed the events normal when socialist organizers formed the Petrograd Soviet as representative of Workers and Soldiers whose role was to manage the workers' remonstration and strike progress, such that when the Provisional government tried to claim the power in March, already the Soviet really controlled more popular support. This way the soviet accepted to give support to the government only if equal rights would be granted to all something that the government agreed but did not complete the other reforms.
The disagreement in reforms led the government into crisis since the liberals promised to uphold imperialist war in accord with France and England which saw many liberals being removed from the government. The crisis that persisted, increased labor unrest and strikes and the launching of a military offensive against German by Kerensky's was a great failure. Committees that represented the peasants in demanding a re-distribution of land which initially was held by private land owners, this was on of the most uncontrollable radicalism. The government failure to make reforms saw the lower ranks of society which included the soldiers increasingly willing to back up the position of the Bolsheviks.