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How Significant a Figure in the Revolutions of 1917 in Russia Was Lenin?

Autor:   •  November 18, 2018  •  Term Paper  •  1,625 Words (7 Pages)  •  119 Views

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How significant a figure in the revolutions of 1917 in Russia was Lenin?

Lenin was a hugely significant figure in the revolutions of 1917, though his role was much more significant in the October Revolution, than in the February Revolution, which had forced Tsar Nicholas II to abdicate. The February Revolution was a spontaneous revolution, triggered by widespread, popular dissatisfaction. People took part in it because they were fed up with working and living conditions. They also wanted Russia to pull out of the First World War, as Russian involvement abroad was contributing to declining living and economic conditions at home. Arguably, the uprisings of February were not actually a revolution, but rather a protracted period of general unrest, protest and strike action. The October Revolution, by contrast, was organised and planned as a full-scale revolution. It was in this latter revolution that Lenin played a significant role. He set up a highly organised and disciplined party, one that was capable of seizing power in October 1917. The Bolsheviks, along with thousands of peasants and workers, took over the Winter Palace and put an end to the autocratic, monarchical rule of the Tsar. Lenin and his fellow Bolsheviks used the February revolution, and the public anger that triggered it, as a springboard for the more premeditated revolution in October.

The first Russian revolution of 1917 took place in February, following the outbreak of unrest and several strikes in January. In February, these strikes were spreading across much of Russia, disrupting important industries. For example, on the 7th of March workers at the Putilov steelworks in Petrograd went on strike, to name just one of the 1300 strikes of 1917. The peasants were increasingly restless, with no fewer than seven hundred peasant uprisings recorded in 1917, compared to the two hundred recorded in 1914. Even the army began to turn against the Tsar’s regime, with many soldiers shooting their commanders in order to join the protestors. The Tsar was in deep trouble at this stage because his best troops were fighting against the Germans and the other soldiers were not wholly loyal to him. His decision to go to the front to lead his troops, while potentially inspiring and patriotic, was seen as a sign of neglect and weakness, particularly when it became clear that he had led a disastrous campaign that resulted in 9.5 million Russian casualties. [1] This was enhanced by the fact that the Tsarina, who Nicholas left to rule in his absence, was both German and considered to be under the corrupting influence of her sinister advisor, Rasputin. People joined the strikes mainly because of poor working conditions and lack of food. In 1917 the problem of food shortages was one of the major grievances of the people because a lot of soldiers who were fighting against the Germans were farmers, who could no longer farm their land if they were fighting abroad. While they were at war there were not enough people that had the necessary skills to farm their land in the stead. The average worker’s wage of five roubles a day could not sustain a family by 1917, given the scarcity of food and its inflated cost. Following the unrest in February, the Duma set up an alternative government, in the hope that this would quell the people’s anger.

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