How was Russia ripe for revolution in 1917?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Russia was quite ripe for revolution in 1917.  First, the Russian army had a poor track record that went back to the Russo-Japanese War in 1904-1905.  In WWI the Russian army showed that it learned little from this defeat as its generals were known more on the parade ground and...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

Russia was quite ripe for revolution in 1917.  First, the Russian army had a poor track record that went back to the Russo-Japanese War in 1904-1905.  In WWI the Russian army showed that it learned little from this defeat as its generals were known more on the parade ground and in the czarist court than it was on the battlefield.  The Russian army lost a lot of territory to the Germans after battles such as Tannenberg.  Also, Czar Nicholas II was a poor leader for a nation in crisis.  While he did institute some reforms such as creating a Duma (Parliament) after the revolution in 1905, he barely listened to this group and listened more closely to his advisers in court, many of whom gave bad advice. Nicholas was inconsistent, and he insisted that the people loved him because he was the embodiment of the Russian state--this blinded him to the issues his country faced. Many peasants were starving due to the abolition of serfdom in the 1860s which drove the serfs off the land more than it helped them find meaningful lives afterwards.  Russian defeats on the battlefield caused the state to lose valuable farmland, especially in Ukraine.  Many people in the Pale of Settlement (Russia's outer periphery, mainly used as territory for dissenters) came to resent the pogroms that took place under Nicholas and his successor.  These places--the Baltic lands and Poland, especially, experienced nationalist movements which contributed to the fall of the czar.  In the end, while a revolution could have been averted if Nicholas had been either more forceful or more progressive, it was his leadership combined with a disastrous war that ultimately led to his downfall.  

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team