What are the Main Causes of the Russian Revolution?

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

The main causes of the Russian Revolution are Changes in Society, The Tsarina and the War, The Tsar’s Incompetence, the Impact of the First World War, Economic Problems, Rasputin and his Influence Over the Tsarina, and Seize of Power. The 300-year-old Romanov monarchy ended with the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the rise of a communist political structure.

World War I marked the beginning of the Russian Revolution, a period of political and social upheaval in the former Russian Empire. During this time, Russia ended its monarchy and transitioned to a socialist system of governance.

Main Causes of the Russian Revolution

The initial rebellion of the Russian Revolution was centered in and around the then capital, Petrograd (now Saint Petersburg). The Russian army began to revolt after significant military defeats during the conflict. Not a single event brought about a revolution, but a combination of several long-term economic, military, and political developments. The main causes of the Russian Revolution are as follows:

  • Changes in society: Russia saw a significant population expansion at the turn of the century, and its late and rapid industrialization led to hundreds of thousands of people moving to metropolitan areas for financial reasons. As a result, many people worked in very small areas, in unsafe conditions, for low wages.
  • Tsarina and the War: Tsarina Alexandra assumed leadership after Nicholas left. She was not well-liked, and as a German princess, she raised questions about her allegiance. As a result, there were many weak and unqualified people in the government, which led to rumors that it was dealing with the Germans.
  • Tsar’s incompetence: Nicholas took command of the army in 1915 and headed to the Eastern Front in hopes of rekindling the men’s enthusiasm for war. He was no longer in a political position and was now in sole command, which made him personally liable for any military failure. A weak government was also left in his absence.
  • Effects of World War I: Instead of restoring Russia’s prestige, World War I resulted in the death of nearly 2 million Russian soldiers and several military setbacks.
  • Rasputin and his influence on Tsarina: Rasputin, a mystic and self-proclaimed holy man, was a Siberian monk who deeply influenced Alexandra.
  • Economic problems: Labour riots and strikes were caused by an extreme need for factory-produced war supplies and labor, which removed skilled workers from cities and replaced them with untrained farmers.
  • Seizure of power: Nicholas sought to return to St. Petersburg to reestablish his authority, dismissing it as a temporary position, but the revolutionaries diverted their train to Pskov. Being helpless and alone, he was forced to surrender.

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