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Russia AOS 1: Causes of Revolution Timeline

Date Event Significance

March 1861 Alexander II issues the  40 million serfs didn’t know

Emancipation of Serfs Edict where to go, kept migrating
liberating 40 million slaves  Overpopulation, population
boom resulting in famine,
hunger due to demands of
 Chronic overcrowding

13 August Assassination of Alexander II by  Showed the commitment of

1881 the Narodnya Volna (People’s terrorist Narodnik’s want to
Will) including Lenin’s older change
brother - later executed (1887)  Alexander III became more
authoritarian and oppressive
than his father
 Liberal reform didn’t happen
 Would’ve influenced Lenin

13 March 1881 Coronation of Alexander III  Okhrana (secret police) was

initiates a period of regressive really active
reactionary actions against  Utilised the power of the
reform reasserting autocratic okhrana to suppress
government – Russification revolutionary groups
 Short-term, maintain power
 Long-term, lack of freedom
 Forced minority group to
become more revolutionary
 Nationalism was in service of
the state, nationalist war that
failed – Russo-Japanese War

1891-2 Widespread famine  Death and absence of social

 Wipes out large masses of the
 Proves the economy can’t
support the population boom,
can’t provide food for
 Subsistence farming, just
enough food is provided to the
immediate family (mir)
 Disease such as typhus

26 November Coronation of Tsar Nicholas II  Reactive, incompetent leader,

1896 stubborn
 Traditionalist Russifying
person, the traditional clothing
 Action at the coronation, there
was a stampede for food
1898 Formation of the Socialist  Russian Marxism solidifying in
Democratic Workers Party, later revolutionary groups
to split into Mensheviks and

1902-1917 Lenin living in exile in London,  Period where he solidifies his

Switzerland and France ideas for political change
 Influenced from surrounding

1902 Lenin writes ‘What is to be  Mensheviks wanted ground

done?’ which divides the SDWP swell
over the issue of party  Loved the mass of people
membership and revolutionary  Lenin (control freak, proven
tactics right) believes there must be a
military style party

1902-1905 Socialist Revolutionary (SRs)  Violent attempt at

Combat Units assassinate a overthrowing the state
range of tsarist officials  Some radical groups in the
country which wanted to take
 Committed

1904 Russo-Japanese War begins

Dec 1904 Assembly of Russian Factory

Workers formed to support local
workers to pursue industrial
reforms, comprised 6000-8000
members by Dec 1904

December Dismissal of four workers from

1904 the Putilov Steel Works in St
Petersburg sparks widespread
industrial strikes in major cities

Jan 1905 - 9 Japanese destroyers sink

Siege of Port Russian fleet; 31,000 Russian
Arthur casualties

February 1905 Battle of Mukden: 90,000

Russian casualties

9 January Petitioners present moderate

1905 reforms intended for the tsar at
the Winter Palace (St.
Petersburg) but results in Bloody
Sunday Massacre

May 1905 Battle of Tsushima: Russian

‘Baltic Fleet’ defeated in less
than 24 hours

July 1905 Sailor mutiny on battleship


September Treaty of Portsmouth: Japan

1905 took control of Port Arthur and
retained its influence in Korea.
Russia forced to evacuate

7-8 Jan 1905 Major strikes in St. Petersburg,

Pipes estimates 120,000 on

January - ‘1905 Revolution’

November Mass strikes 40,000 throughout
1905 Russia, collapse of
administration in rural zemstovs

April 1905 Second National Zemstvo

Congress calls on government
to establish a Constituent
Assembly to write a Constitution
for Russia

May - June Military and naval mutinies in

1905 battalions returning from the
Russo-Japanese War
Sailor mutiny on the battleship
Potemkin stationed in Odessa
14 June 1905
on the Black Sea, murdering
their officers

8 May 1905 Union of Unions formed, linking

the educated intelligentsia with
the actions of the working
people. Led by Pavel Milyukov.

October 1905
Oct 1905 - ‘Soviets’ or workers
councils formed in major cities,
notably St Petersburg and
Moscow, approximately 88 by
December. Designed to
coordinate workers grievances
and strikes and represent their
interests. Trotsky a founding
member and vice-chairman of
the St Petersburg Soviet called
for a National General Strike.

26 October Tsar issues the October

1905 Manifesto under guidance from
Sergei Witte promising a State
Duma (parliament), including
political, social and workplace

Dec 1905
3 Dec 1905 - St. Petersburg
Soviet called for continued
strikes. Its chairman, Nosar, was
arrested by the tsarist okhrana
and the Soviet responded with
an armed uprising with 260 of its
members arrested (i.e ½ of its
6 Dec 1905 - Moscow Soviet led
a crippling strike. Troops sent
from St. Petersburg killed 1000
people on 18 Dec ending the
strike, ending with the Soviet
headquarters being raided, with
Trotsky and the rest of the
Soviet leadership arrested and
exiled to Siberia

Conservative politician Pyotr

Dec 1905
Stolypin elected and issues land
reforms and sales to peasantry
while simultaneously executing
known revolutionaries

23 April 1906 Fundamental State Laws issued

to reassert the autocratic power
of the Tsar prior to the Duma

27 April 1906 First Duma (parliament) elected

April - May Mass protests throughout

1906 Russia against the closure of the
First Duma

July 1906 First Duma is dissolved by the

Tsar as it is too radical

Feb - Jun 1907 Second Duma is dissolved by

the Tsar as it is too radical

Nov 1907 Stolypin’s electoral reforms

restrict the numbers of people
eligible to vote
14 September Assassination of Pyotr Stolypin

Nov 1907 - Jun Third Duma elected


17 April 1912 Lena Goldfields Protest against

poor working conditions is
massacred by Tsarist troops -
500 miners killed

Nov 1912 - Fourth Duma elected

Aug 1914

Aug 1914 Russia enters First World War

28-31 August Battle of Tannenberg results in -

1914 massive Russian defeat 70,000
killed, 100,000 captured

15 September Battle of Masurian Lakes results

1915 in major Russian defeat

August 1915 Tsar takes personal command of -

the Russian military, Tsarina
Alexandra and Rasputin control
the government, leading to a
period of instability and
‘ministerial leapfrogging’ and
rapid changes of Ministers

25 August Progressive bloc of politicians in -

1915 the Third Duma forms to oppose
the closure of the Duma and
continues to meet despite

Sept 1916 Brusilov Offensive results in

major Russian victory over
Austria-Hungary (1 million
Austrians killed)

9 January 150,000 march in St. Petersburg

1917 in commemoration of Bloody
Sunday Massacre

23 February - February Revolution begins with

3 March the Women’s Day march in St.
Petersburg joined by workers
(200,000 protesters)

25 February 300,000 protesters in St.

1917 Petersburg. Tsar orders military
27 Feb 1917 Petrograd Garrison mutinies and - Loss of control of military,
forms a Soviet siding with the government lacks support of
February Revolution military
- This group would become
decisive by october

1 March 1917 Moscow Soviet formed. - Start of the period of dual

Soviets issue ‘Soviet Order 1’ power between provisional
which forbid military Government and the Soviets
action/orders to be followed by - Soviet had real military power
troops without approval by the - Soviets gave provisional
Soviets Government backing up until
- Support of the June offensive
of 1917

2 March 1917 Nicholas II abdicates - Power vacuum

March 1917 Provisional Government - Promised a Constitution

established from the remaining - Delayed elections for a
members of the Duma, Kadets, constituent assembly
Mensheviks, SRs and some - Delivered on reforms for civil
Bolsheviks. They continued a rights and freedoms, eg.
‘defense war’ in WWI to maintain freedom of speech, releasing
Allied financial support political prisoners
- Maintained involvement in
WWI as part of a strategy to
defend the February

3 April 1917 Lenin returns from exile and - Gave the Bolsheviks clear
issues April Thesis which forbid objectives
Bolshevik co-operation in the - Kept Bolsheviks out of a
Provisional Government, failing Government
complete withdrawal from WWI - Convinced Bolshevik
and Bolsheviks as the only members of what to do
legitimate form of Revolutionary - Reestablished Lenin as the
Government leader

18-20 June Provisional Government issues - Damages credibility of

1917 ‘June Offensive’ changing its provisional Government
war policy to an attack on - Undermines the idea of
Germany and Austria-Hungary revolutionary defencism
- Strained relationship between
Soviet and provisional
- Increased strains on
homefront reminiscent of
Nicholas II’s failed offensives
- Damaged Kerensky’s

3 July 1917 Popular protests against social - Demonstrates the level of

conditions and WWI Kronstadt popular grievance against
sailors enter Petrograd and give June offensive
support to protests - Showed that the soldier and
A failed revolt with popular sailor mutanies could act
backing but it is defeated by independently of Bolshevik
Provisional Government troops. party
Bolsheviks consulted - unclear - Lenin’s lack of support
how to respond. Lenin and showed his unwillingness to
Trotsky went into hiding. back a popular revolution
- Bolsheviks were arrested
afterwards by Government;
- Provisional Government
strengthened hold on power in
the short term
- In long term, damage to
perception of provisional

26 August General Kornilov attempts a - Proved that provisional

1917 royalist coup to reinstate the Government and Soviets were
tsarist regime, believing the right to worry about counter-
Provisional Government to be revolution
militarily weak. Trotsky released - Bolsheviks instrumental to
from gaol and establishes the countering Kornolov’s threat
Red Guard to protect Petrograd - Provisional Government
from the royalists and defeat armed Red

8 September Trotsky becomes Chairman of - Bolshevik standing within

1917 the Petrograd Soviet, increasing Soviets skyrockets
Bolshevik presence in this vital -
forum of workers, soldiers and

September Bolsheviks increase their -

1917 majorities in the Petrograd and
Moscow Soviets

7 October Lenin returns from exile in

1917 Finland in secret.

10 October Key Bolshevik meeting at which

1917 Lenin decisively persuades the
Bolshevik party executive to
attempt another military
insurrection and Revolution

16 October Bolshevik Military Revolutionary

1917 Committee founded

23 October Kerensky orders bridges in

1917 Petrograd closed - separating
the government from Bolsheviks
Kerensky orders Bolshevik
printing presses shut down

24-25 October The October Revolution is

1917 achieved by the Bolsheviks and
Red Guard in Petrograd with
little violence - more people are
injured in the filming of a
reenactment for a Bolshevik
propaganda film