Russian Revolution

Russian Revolution

The first thing to consider about the Russian Revolution, was the state of the country. Most of the country was made up of peasants who could not raise above their station. Since their conditions were often oppressive, revolution did not generally seem like a bad idea to your average Russian citizen. The working class were more concerned with their own situation but were not highly educated and could not conceive revolution on their own. The intellectuals, however, were granted very few opportunities under the imperial regime and they were more apt to become revolutionaries in the future goal or a democracy. [1]

The Bolsheviks were a group of Communists who ceased power during the October Revolution. They believed that a group of intellectuals should be the ones to push the workers towards a revolution and topple the Russian Monarchy. The leader of the Bolsheviks was Vladimir Lenin and they were more aligned to German ideals, and if Russia was defeated during the Great War, it would make revolution that much easier. They were also the only political party in Russia that was against the war. During the attempt to capture Bosporus which was the only passage from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean, the Bolsheviks talked with the soldiers about the goal. They wondered why it was so important to capture the territory and assured them that the Bolshevik regime would not only let them go home to their families, but also they could set their own wages if they took over the factories. They also told the peasants they could have the land they always wanted. This made the Bolshevik party very popular among the majority of the country. When they thought they had enough support to be successful, they conducted a nearly bloodless coup in October of 1917. They snuck in and quickly gained control of Moscow and St. Petersburg which controlled the government. [2]

Even though they had control over the two major cities in Russia, they did not control the rest of Russia outside of these areas. It took three years for the Bolsheviks to consolidate their power and gain supreme control over Russia. Civil War broke out after the Bolsheviks dissolved the Constituent Assembly on 6 January 1918. There were four major opponents the Bolsheviks had to come against, and because Russia was such a diverse and geographically enormous place, they created the Red Army. They had an advantage of unified leadership and the resources of the Russian heartland and a central rail network. The first group to fall to the Red Army was the Socialist Revolutionary Party, KOMUCH. They were unable to develop an effective army, however, and fell to the Red Army in fall of 1918. The second group to come up was the “White” Armies. They were organized by conservative military officers and were the largest threat to the Bolsheviks. Even though the fighting started off well, poor organization was the White Army’s defeat and ended around 1920. The “Green” armies were comprised of mostly peasants who were disillusioned and were little more than revolts. The Ukrainians also posed a threat to the Red Army but were unsuccessful in defeating them. By 1921, the Bolsheviks had come away victorious over their many opponents. They integrated the territory which was once the Russian Empire into a Soviet State. [3]

The House of Special Purpose refers to a book by John Boyne which is narrated by Georgy Daniilovich Jachmenev. Georgy was the son of a laborer in the town of Kashin. An attempted political assassination of Grand Duke Nicholas, cousin of the czar by his friend Kolek Boryavich, shocks Georgy so much that he steps in and takes the bullet meant for the Grand Duke. To reward his heroic act, Georgy is sent to the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg to work for the czar. The story goes on with him being the caretaker to the czar’s son Alexei, and daughter Anastasia. It ends with his life in England and his family life. [4]

To the Finland Station is a book on the study in the acting and writing of history written by Edmund Wilson. [5]



[1] Saylor Foundation. 2014. “The Russian Revolution.” 1

[2] Saylor Foundation. 2014. “The Russian Revolution.” 1-9.

[3] Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern World. 2008. Russian Civil War. Oxford University Press.

[4] KIRKUS. 2013. THE HOUSE OF SPECIAL PURPOSE. Jan 6. Accessed Feb 7, 2018.

[5] Wilson, Edmund. 1972. To the Finland Station: A Study in the Acting and Writing of History. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.


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