Topic outline

    • Socialism in Europe and the Russian Revolution

      Q103. Describe the circumstances which responsible for the Russian Revolution?
      What caused the Russian Revolution?
      What were the main causes of Russian Revolution?

      Ans. The main circumstances which were responsible for the Russian Revolution were:

      1. Russia's own industries were few in numbers and the industrial workers were exploited extremely. The workers had no right to form trade unions or seek reforms. They led a miserable life.
      2. The Russian peasantry was also in miserable condition. Their land holdings were very small and they had to pay heavy taxes.
      3. Tsar Nicholas II was a deeply conservative ruler and maintained a strict authoritarian system. He cared little for the general people. He dragged the Russian into the First World War. The common people, who suffered most, were fed up with his absolute rule of Tsar and wanted to get rid of him. 
      4. Karl Marx's theory communism appealed to the people. He said that workers had to overthrow capitalism and the rule of capitalists by the revolution. 


      Q104. How could a society without property operate? What would be the basis of socialist society?
      Explain how a society, according to socialists, can operate without property. What would be the basis of socialist society?

      Ans. Socialists had different visions of the future. 

      1. Some believed in the idea of cooperatives. Robert Owen, a leading English manufacturer, sought to build a cooperative community called New Harmony in Indiana (USA). 
      2. Other socialists felt that cooperatives could not be built on a wide scale only through individual initiative: they demanded that governments encourage cooperatives. These cooperatives were to be associations of people who produced goods together and divided the profits according to the work done by members. 
      3. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels added other ideas to this body of arguments. Marx argued that industrial society was capitalist. Capitalists owned the capital invested in factories, and the profit of capitalists was produced by workers. The conditions of workers could not improve as long as this profit was accumulated by private capitalists. Workers had to overthrow capitalism and the rule of private property. Marx believed that to free themselves from capitalist exploitation, workers had to construct a radically socialist society where all property was socially controlled. 


      Q105. Make two lists: one with the main events and the effects of the February Revolution and the other with the main events and effects of the October Revolution. Write a paragraph on who was involved in each, who were the leaders and what was the impact of each on Soviet history.

      Ans. February Revolution

      • On 22 February: A lockout at a factory. Demonstrators thronged the centre of the capital, and curfew was imposed.
      • 25th February: Suspension of Duma.
      • 27th February: Formation of Soviet.
      • 2nd March: Tsar leaves power and provisional government formed.

      The February Revolution ended the autocratic Tsarist rule in Russia and paved the way for an elected government. There was no leader of this movement.

      October Revolution

      • 16th October: Formation of Military Revolutionary Committee
      • 24th October: Pro-government troops called in to deal with the situation.
      • Military Revolutionary Committee controls the city by night and ministers surrender.
      • The Bolshevik take control of the power.

      The October Revolution was led by Lenin. This event paved the way for complete control of the Bolsheviks over Russia and the beginning of a single-party rule.


      Q106. What were the main changes brought about by the Bolsheviks immediately after the October Revolution?

      Ans. The main changes brought about by the Bolsheviks immediately after the October Revolution:

      1. Most industry and banks were nationalised in November 1917. This meant that the government took over ownership and management.
      2. Land was declared social property and peasants were allowed to seize the land of the nobility.
      3. In cities, Bolsheviks enforced the partition of large houses according to family requirements.
      4. They banned the use of the old titles of aristocracy. To assert the change, new uniforms were designed for the army and officials.
      5. The Bolshevik Party was renamed the Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik).
      6. The Bolsheviks conducted the elections to the Constituent Assembly, but they failed to gain majority support. The Assembly rejected Bolshevik measures and Lenin dismissed the Assembly.
      7. The Bolsheviks became the only party to participate in the elections to the All Russian Congress of Soviets, which became the Parliament of the country.
      8. Russia became a one-party state.
      9. Trade unions were kept under party control. The secret police punished those who criticised the Bolsheviks.