A great part of the history of the world is tied up with the histories of empires around the globe. One would even go ahead and assume that all of human history has been created and built by colonialism. In the contemporary society today, however, empires that have existed have all collapsed over the years. However, a great deal of the life around the world has been shaped by the legacies of various empires that existed.
An empire can be described as a vast number of countries that have a single authority exercising power over them. In this context, the discussion is based on analyzing the Russian revolution. It brings out the aspect of the ending of a reign of power by the autocrats. In essence, it is a depiction of how empires have been ended all through the course of history. The paper thus creates an analysis of the onset, process, and culmination of the revolt by the Russian people against the tsarist autocracy.
For a staggering three hundred years, the Russian people had been subjected to the Romanov Dynasty. However, its end was made possible through the revolt by the people having endured the slavery for centuries. The very foundation of the destruction of the autocracy can be pegged on the crisis that was brought about by modernization. The year of the revolution was 1917, which also coincided with the final phase of the First World War.
The Bloody Sunday that marked the onset of the Russian Revolution (Trotsky and Eastman 25)
The revolution set the foundation for the transformation of Russia from an empire state into the Soviet Union. The occurrence of the Russian revolution appears to have been spontaneous and abrupt; however, its origins can be traced a century back. Right before the revolution, flaws and weakness had begun to form within the Russian monarchy.
Having realized the growing and increasing weaknesses within its system, the monarchy had become more reactionary. Revolutionary terrorists and resistance movements had slowly been gaining prominence in Russia. As a result, the leader of the monarch had opted for use of brutal oppression and severe measures in an effort to subdue and quell the resistance movements, which were growing in strength and might.
Revolutionaries protesting in February 1917 (Trotsky and Eastman 15)
The Russian revolution was the backdrop upon which it entered the industrial age. Having spent most of its previous years as an agrarian society, the revolution set the stage for industrial growth and exploits. In comparison to its neighbors in Europe, Russia was fifty years back in regards to industrialization. The ending of the revolution saw unprecedented growth in urban industrial areas. The elimination of illiteracy and the mass movement of populations to the cities created a sudden shift in the societal systems.
Russian children demonstrate for education and a better life, February 1917
The takeover of the government by the communist movement in Russia provided the much-needed fuel for other countries that were struggling with their monarchy and autocratic leaderships. The communist party had provided a benchmark for the changes and power it did wield. To the neighboring countries in Europe and Asia, communism represented a growing threat to their stability. In retaliation and response to the imminent threat of the spread of communism, most countries opted to isolate the Soviet Union. The focus of the revolution was economic changes; however, the resultant effect was felt across the political social and even religious circles.
As earlier stated in the paper, the analysis is aimed at providing and insightful and compressive narrative of the various developments and events in the Soviet Russia before and during the revolution. It goes further to provide a preview of some of the changes that occurred with the ending of the Romanov dynasty. By looking at the changes that occurred before and after the revolution within the societal systems; such as gender roles and politics, one begins to realize the impact of the revolution on the Russian people.
In as much as a person may want to assert the fact that the Russian revolution was based on a struggle between modernity and conservatism, a deeper analysis brings to light the fact that the struggle for enlightenment had little significance to the ending of the three-hundred-year-old political tyranny. The endearing war between 1914 and 1918 created the deathbed for the Tsarist regime.
The military failures further worsened an already bad situation. By taking personal command, the Tsar created more avenues for mistakes and disasters. The First World War formed the catalyst upon which the Russian revolution would propel its goals and ambitions. The revolt according to Smith began by the downing of tools by women, which would later become the First World Women’s day. Successive multi-day strikes by the wageworkers further exuberated the push for liberation from the autocrats.
The revolution failed to turn into a fully-fledged owing to the poor Russian infrastructure. The momentum of the revolution began to wane owing to the food shortages that would later spread across the country.
The Russian Famine, 1921 (Trotsky and Eastman 84)
The inflation because of impaired economic systems caused a total collapse of Russian transport system. The central government had no hold on any of its systems and arms, and this meant that it would not provide or offer any of its services. The Russian army remained largely operational owing to the oppression and exploitation of the citizenry, but their faith in the Tsar had been lost.
The one recurrent factor through the course of history has been the fact that every empire, regardless of its strength or might has arrived at its end. Empires have one common characteristic of oppression and exploitation that usually results in their collapse. The story of Romanov dynasty is not any different.
The liberation of the Russian citizenry was a result of two revolutions. The second revolution had been led by Lenin, which defined the most radical turning point in Russia. In as much as the change would be repressive, it did, however, highlight a significant change from the aristocracy to leadership filled with the working class and the intellectual class.
Lenin and Krupskaya at the telescope in Gorki, 1922 (Trotsky and Eastman 110)
Ideally, every empire in the course of history has had its onset, its prime and its eventual collapse. History is rich with stories of empires that conquered the world, attained the greatest heights, and lost it all at the slightest provocation of the citizens. The fundamental fact is that the final power of governance and power is with the people. The greatest resources of the revolutions over the years have been the people. The story line remains the same even with the Russians and their revolution.
Fitzpatrick, Sheila. The Russian Revolution. OUP Oxford, 2008.
Smith, Stephen Anthony. The Russian Revolution: A very short introduction. Oxford Paperbacks, 2002.
Trotsky, Leon, and Max Eastman. History of the Russian revolution. Haymarket Books, 2008.
Wood, Anthony. The Russian Revolution. Routledge, 2014.