The Russian Revolution of October 1917 is the most important cause of change in Russia. It also the origin of the country’s modern political and socioeconomic system (Acton, Cherniaev & Rosenberg, 2007). Scholars argue that Russia’s involvement in the First World War and the economic consequences are the primary causes of the revolution.
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However, a number of long-term ands short-term factors equally contributed to the revolution (Lincoln, 2003). This paper argues that although the First World War triggered the revolution in Russia, the revolution could still have taken place even without the war, but after several years.
A number of socioeconomic and political factors creates tension in Russia
According to scholars, there are four main causes of the Russian revolution. First, the country’s economy was destroyed by the involvement in the First World War. Secondly, the army experienced massive cracking morale and poor funding due to poor military handling and management (Acton, Cherniaev & Rosenberg, 2007).
Thirdly, the autocratic rule of the Tsar brought with it massive scandals and poor administration of public money. Finally, scholars argue that the collapse of the Russian old order as well as the emergence of a new order triggered the need for a change in generation and socioeconomic system.
Russia seems to have been experiencing a build-up of tension due to the scandals, the autocratic rule and the old order. The First World War triggered the revolution that could have waited years to begin. Scholars have argued that one of the indications that a revolution in the country was inevitable in the 20th century is the fact that by as early as 1905, the country experienced the first revolution, known as the Russian Revolution of 1905.
It is evident that Russians were tired of a 300-year rule of the Tsar. They were eagerly waiting for an opportunity to change the political system (Steinberg, 2001). The events of the infamous Bloody Sunday provide an evidence that even the army was willing to take part in a revolution that would see the country change its political and economic system in order to move along with the dynamisms in the western Europe, especially in Britain and France.
Unlike the other nations in the Western Europe, Russia’s population in the vast rural areas remained predominantly poor. The majority were the poor peasants, with frequent recurrence of shortage of food. The Tsar regime and its autocratic rule were doing nothing to boost food production.
The issue of land ownership remained a big problem among the peasants (Steinberg, 2001). The poor peasants felt that land was supposed to be the possession of those who were working on it. Moreover, there was dynamism in the countryside as people moved from the farms to the industries and from industries to the farms (Lincoln, 2003).
This had been changing the peasant way of life and culture, while information flow was increasingly improving as the people between the cities and the farms were in constant move.
A growing number of peasant villagers were increasingly becoming a new phenomenon both in the industrial cities and in rural towns. These tensions, coupled with the increasing rate of poverty and poor public administration, were increasingly increasing the need for change (Figes, 2004).
In conclusion, it is worth noting that the First World War contributed much to the Russian revolution, but the actual cause of the October 1917 events were the tensions created by the previous dynamism in the social system, the autocratic rule and the increasing number of scandals (Figes, 2004). Evidently, the Russian revolution could have taken place even without the nation’s involvement in the war, but the revolution could have waited until a good opportunity prevails.
Acton, E., Cherniaev, V., & Rosenberg, W. (2007). A Critical Companion to the Russian Revolution, 1914–1921. London: Bloomington
Figes, O. (2004). A People’s Tragedy: The Russian Revolution 1891–1924. London: Springer
Lincoln, W. B. (2003). Passage through Armageddon: The Russians in War and Revolution, 1914–1918. New York: Cengage
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Steinberg, M. (2001). Voices of Revolution, 1917. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press