Notes on February Revolution and October Revolution
i. The February Revolution 1917 was set off by a set of incidents.
ii. The country including capital city of Petrograd was facing prospects of starvation.
iii. Added to this were long bread queues and severe winter.
iv. Spate of strikes took the form of general strike.
v. Women workers played a leading part in these strikes.
Strikers demanded bread, better wages, shorter hours of work and democracy. Many regiments of the army joined the striking workers.
Freed political prisoners arrested the Tsar’s ministers and generals.
By evening Petrograd had passed into the hands of insurgent workers and generals. The Tsar was forced to abdicate in favour of a Provisional Government of Soviet and Duma leaders.
The February Revolution marked the end of monarchy in Russia.
Power passed into the hands of the provisional government-the Mensheviks under Alexander Kerensky. But the Revolution failed to fulfill the demands of the revolutionaries which were: (i) Peace (ii) Land to the tiller (iii) Equal status to non-Russian nationalities (iv) and Nationalisation of banks and industry.
In the February Revolution, the Mensheviks led by Alexander Kerensky were supported by the Bolsheviks, politicians, factory workers and the army. The February Revolution marked the end of monarchy in Russia.
Lenin returned from exile and organised a socialist seizure of power by Military Revolutionary Committee under Leon Troskii. It was timed with the all Russian Congress of Soviet of Workers and Soldiers on Oct. 23, 1917.
The date of the event was kept a secret. Sensing trouble, the Provisional Government under Kerensky seized two Bolshevik buildings. In a swift response the Military Revolutionary Committee within few hours seized every strategic point in Petrograd.
i. The Navy played a significant role in the assault of the Winter Palace.
ii. The Provisional Government at Winter Palace was put under arrest.
iii. Kerensky however escaped.
Uprisings and heavy fighting followed.
By December the Bolsheviks controlled the Moscow Petrograd area. Lenin’s success was received with a standing ovation.
The immediate effect of the October Revolution was power passed into the hands of the Bolsheviks under Lenin.
By adoption of Decree of Peace, Government withdrew from World War I and signed the treaty of Brest-Litovsk with Germany. Russia lost many of her territories. The Decree of Land abolished private property in land and declared land state property.
Russia unilaterally renounced all unequal treaties which the Tsar’s government had imposed on countries such as China, Iran and Afghanistan.
The right of all people to equality and self determination was proclaimed. Russia became the first socialist state of the world.
The October Revolution led by Lenin was supported by Bolsheviks, Russian Congress of Soviets of Workers, Military Revolutionary Committee and the Navy. The October Revolution led to the establishment of the first Communist Regime under the Bolsheviks.