What were the key reasons for the peasant revolt in Russia in early 1917?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One of the most critical reasons why the peasants were able to embrace revolution so easily was due to the Russian failure in World War I. Initially, the Czar's entry into World War I silenced some of the angst and frustration Russian peasants felt. Yet, over time, the war's devastating effects took their toll on Russian morale. It was a war in which the poor disproportionately sacrificed more than any other sector of the Russian population. It was in this condition in which the peasantry in Russia, the vast majority of Russian citizenry, felt the need to assert control and initiate the revolution that would transform the nation.  

The poor in Russia endured much that compelled them to embrace the reality of revolution. Food shortages, land deprivation, as well as the crippling conditions caused by poverty along with its lack of hope helped to foster revolution. These realities drove the poor in Russia to rebel against the Czar. For his part, Czar Nicholas was seen as unresponsive to the needs of the poor. Adding to this was the lack of control that he had over his court.  Many of the poor in Russia felt that the Czar had to be blamed for their own impoverished condition.  It was this state of being in which economic opportunity was denied and powerlessness became evident that helped to drive the peasant revolt in 1917.  Lenin and the Bolsheviks seized upon this state of being later in the year to consolidate their control of the nation.

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