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Russian Revolution

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The overthrow of the government of Nicholas II in Russia and its replacement by Bolshevik rule under the leadership of Lenin. It was completed in two stages – a liberal (Menshevik) revolution in March (February, old style), which overthrew the imperial government, and a socialist (Bolshevik) revolution in November (October, old style). A long period of repression and unrest, compounded with the reluctance of the Russian people to continue to fight in World War I, led to a series of violent confrontations aiming to overthrow the existing government. The revolutionaries were divided between the liberal intelligentsia, who sought the establishment of a democratic, Western-style republic, and the socialists, who were prepared to use extreme violence to establish a Marxist proletarian state in Russia. In the March Revolution strikes and riots in Petrograd (St Petersburg), supported by imperial troops, led to the abdication of the emperor and thus to the end after more than 300 years of Romanov rule. A committee of the Duma (Parliament) appointed the liberal Provisional Government under Prince Lvov, who later handed over to the Socialist revolutionary Kerensky. He faced rising opposition from the Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies. The October Revolution was carried through in a nearly bloodless coup by the Bolsheviks under the leadership of Lenin. Workers' Councils (Soviets) took control in the major cities, and a ceasefire was arranged with the Germans. A Soviet constitution was proclaimed in July 1918 and Lenin transferred the government from Petrograd to Moscow. The Russian Civil War continued for nearly three more years, ending in the supremacy of the Bolsheviks and in the establishment of the Soviet Union.

Subjects: History

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