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Russian Revolution (1917) By Elliott, Emily

DOI: 10.4324/9781135000356-REM1363-1
Published: 02/05/2017
Retrieved: 23 May 2024, from


The Russian Revolution occurred in two stages toward the close of World War I. It led to the overthrow of the Romanov dynasty and the establishment of the world’s first communist regime. Although the Revolution in 1917 was the first to overthrow the Romanovs, imperial Russia had a long history of rebellions against the autocratic rule of the tsars. During the seventeenth century, Ivan Bolotnikov (1565–1608) and Stenka Razin (1630–1671) led two separate peasant rebellions nearly fifty years apart. In the following century, Kondraty Bulavin (1660–1708) and Yemelyan Pugachev (1742–1775) led uprisings of their own. In the nineteenth century, Russia faced the Decembrist Revolt in 1825 following the death of Alexander I. In 1863, parts of Poland and Lithuania rebelled to gain more cultural freedom.

The reign of Nicholas II (1894–1917) worsened the relationship between the tsar and the Russian public. On the day of his coronation, a mass was held at Khodynka Field near Moscow. When some attendees heard that not everyone would receive the promised free food and drink, they trampled others, leaving an estimated thirteen hundred dead and thirteen hundred injured. Nicholas and Alexandra still held their celebration banquet, however, and this earned him the sobriquet ‘Bloody Nicholas’.

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Elliott, Emily. Russian Revolution (1917). Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism, Taylor and Francis,

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