History Revolutions: Russian Teach Yourself Series Topic 1: Chronology of key events

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1 History Revolutions: Russian Teach Yourself Series Topic 1: Chronology of key events A: Level 14, 474 Flinders Street Melbourne VIC 3000 T: W: tssm.com.au E: TSSM 2015 Page 1 of 8

2 Contents Chronology of key events... 3 A word about words... 3 Overview of revolutions... 4 As it appears in Units 3 and Key events in the Russian Revolution... 5 As it appears in Units 3 and Political, economic and social change... 6 As it appears in Units 3 and Solutions to Review Questions... 6 TSSM 2015 Page 2 of 8

3 Chronology of key events The Russian Revolution of October 1917 was the first example of a communist revolution succeeding in one country. The Soviet Union, the regime established by that revolution, lasted essentially until the collapse of communism in , making it part of recent history. Many historians you will encounter in your study of the Russian Revolution lived during the Soviet era, which adds to their difficulty in distancing themselves from it, and being objective about events associated with the Revolution. There were, in fact, three 'Russian Revolutions': the first, in 1905, was a challenge to the autocratic ruler of Russia, the Tsar, who established a 'parliament'. This did not solve Russia's problems however, and the Tsar continued to behave as an autocrat. In February 1917, the second Russian Revolution occurred, when the tsar abdicated and a Provisional Government attempted to move Russia towards a modern democratic state. The third and final Russian Revolution was the overthrow of the Provisional Government by the Russian Bolshevik or Communist Party. The October Revolution is the revolution that is generally meant in the term, 'Russian Revolution.' A word about words Russia or Soviet Union or USSR? In your study of the Russian Revolution, you may encounter varying terms such as 'Russia', 'Soviet Union' and 'USSR' (an acronym for Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.) Don't be confused: for our VCE Revolutions course, the terms are practically interchangeable. 'Russia' was the name given to the empire that covered northern Europe and Asia. The Tsars ruled the Russian Empire, which included provinces that were not technically 'Russian.' After the February 1917 Revolution, six provinces became independent Soviet republics, and in 1922, they signed the Treaty of Union, forming the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics - otherwise known as the 'Soviet Union.' 'Russia' was one of those republics, however, the term 'Russia' was often used to refer to all republics in the USSR. The government of the USSR was in Moscow. The term 'official Soviet history' is used because, from the 1920s, the government of the USSR promoted one view of the history of the revolution and censored alternative views. There are also variations in spelling key words such as 'tsar', which is sometimes written 'czar.' This is rare now, but these anomalies arise because the words are transliterated from Russian. Place names also change: St Petersburg became the more Russian-sounding 'Petrograd' during the First World War, then became Leningrad after 1924; in 1991, it reverted to St Petersburg. From 1903, Lenin's political party was called the Bolsheviks. In 1918, it was renamed the Russian Communist Party. During the early years after the Revolution, many Russians were probably confused and unclear about the correct names. In your writing, unless you have cause to particularly identify them otherwise, it is acceptable to use the names interchangeably. TSSM 2015 Page 3 of 8

4 Overview of revolutions As it appears in Units 3 and 4 This is the overview of revolutions that appears in the Study Design Revolutions are the great disjuncture of modern times and mark deliberate attempts at new directions. They share the common aim of breaking with the past by destroying the regimes and societies that engender them and embarking on a program of political and social transformation. As processes of dramatically accelerated social change, revolutions have a profound impact on the country in which they occur, as well as important international repercussions. Because revolutions involve destruction and construction, dispossession and liberation, they polarise society and unleash civil war and countrer-revolution, making survival and consolidation of the revolution the principal concern of the revolutionary state. In defence of the revolution, under attack from within and without, revolutionary governments often deploy armed force and institute policies of terror and repression. The process of revolution concludes when a point of stability has been reached and a viable revolutionary settlement made. Review Questions 1. Using your dictionary to help you, write working definitions of these words and phrases as they appear in the Study Design: Word/phrase Working definition as it applies to Revolutions disjuncture breaking with the past regimes engender political and social transformation dramatically accelerated social change profound impact international repercussions destruction and construction dispossession and liberation polarise society civil war TSSM 2015 Page 4 of 8

5 counter-revolution deploy armed force terror repression 2. Rewrite the overview of revolutions using your own words and in a simple way. Key events in the Russian Revolution As it appears in Units 3 and 4 The Russian calendar Until 1918, Russia used the Julian calendar, whereas Western countries, including Australia, used the Gregorian calendar. The Julian calendar dates events 13 days earlier than they appear on the Gregorian calendar. Therefore, when the February 1917 Revolution began, the date in Russia was 23 February, whereas the date in the West was 8 March. The 'October Revolution' began on 24 October 1917 on the Julian calendar, but on 6 November 1917 on the Gregorian calendar. Today, historians refer to the events using the date as represented in Russia at the time. Some older Western histories used the Gregorian dates when referring to these events. For example, the textbook, Russia, by Jon Nichol and Keith Shephard, published in 1986, has a chapter headed, 'The March Revolution' and a timeline for the Bolshevik Revolution that refers to November dates. Russia adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1918, but we generally continue to use the dates of events in 1917 as they appeared on the Russian calendar in The old regime Russia's old regime was an empire stretching from northern Europe to Asia, ruled by an absolute, autocratic tsar. In the 19th century, Russia was still a feudal, agrarian society, with approximately 90% of the population living as peasants. Serfdom was abolished in 1861, but temporary serfdom continued to exist in some areas until In the late 19 th century, Russia began rapidly to industrialise, providing a small population of urban workers. Literacy was 21% in 1897, but rose rapidly to 40% in The ruling dynasty was the Romanovs, who celebrated their tercentenary in In 1881, revolutionaries had assassinated Tsar Alexander II; from 1894, his grandson, Nicholas II, ruled Russia. The Tsarina, Alexandra, was German but was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria of England. TSSM 2015 Page 5 of 8

6 Russia had a traditional feudal hierarchy the court at the top, the Russian Orthodox Church and the nobility below that, merchants, then peasants. The Civil Service, Army and Church (the historian Orlando Figes Solutions to Review Questions 1. Word/phrase disjuncture breaking with the past regimes engender political and social transformation dramatically accelerated social change profound impact international repercussions Working definition as it applies to Revolutions The point that separates two things. The breaking point or dividing point. Things change; the new is very different to the past. Government; the system of government. Give rise to, to bring about. To change the political system and society. Society goes through very fast and significant change. The revolution forces the society to make rapid and deep change. Great effect; significant change. Other countries take notice of the revolution and may react to it. destruction construction dispossession liberation polarise society civil war counter-revolution deploy armed force and and Revolutions destroy aspects of the old and create new structures for the new society. Some groups in the country lose greatly (they are dispossessed) and other groups may gain greater freedom. Divide society into two 'poles', two very different groups with very different views. War between two or more groups within the country. Those who oppose the new revolutionary government. Use armed forces. terror The government imposes extreme measures against counter-revolutionaries. These often include perfunctory trials and rapid execution. TSSM 2015 Page 6 of 8

7 repression Stop or suppress, often with force. 2. Revolutions mark the point where there is a significant break with the past. The revolutionary group deliberately tries to destroy the old regime and build a very different political system and society. Revolutions have a great impact on the country, as society goes through rapid and great change. They often affect more than their own country. Revolutions involve destroying that country's former political and social systems and constructing new ways of governing and structuring society. Some groups lose their previous status/role, other groups are freed by the revolution. This divides the country. Those who lose may openly oppose the new government, which creates civil war. If the revolutionary government is to survive, it may resort to extreme measures, including terror. It often silences opposition. The revolution is said to be over when a point of stability has been reached. 3. In 1917, Russia still used the Julian calendar, while most of the West used the Gregorian calendar. On the Julian calendar, the first revolution began on 23 February, so is known as the 'February Revolution', but it was 8 March on the Gregorian calendar. 4. Date Event What changed or why was it significant? 19th century Attempted reforms Various groups tried to reform Russia's political and social structure Russia at war with Japan Russia defeated - create political, social and economic tensions 22 January 1905 Bloody Sunday Tsar's troops fired on petitioners; loss of faith in Tsar October 1905 October Manifesto Established a duma, which on paper seemed to support political reform Formation of St Petersburg soviet First example of workers having political power. 27 April 1906 Fundamental Laws Tsar states that Russia is still an autocracy Four Dumas Tsar didn't believe in real reform. August 1914 World War One Russia on Allied side; poorly equipped to fight 20th century war War losses Government increasingly seen as responsible for war losses; bread shortages; court scandals. February 1917 February Revolution Spontaneous uprising overthrows tsarist regime, establishes Provisional Government. TSSM 2015 Page 7 of 8

8 TSSM 2015 Page 8 of 8

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