Written by: Carlos Diaz.
The social changes brought by the 1917 revolution were changes in the way the Russian people treated the workers and in the political structure of Russia.The Russian revolution of 1917 was composed of two revolutions. The first one came about in February of 1917 (Julian Calendar) and the second one was in October (Julian calendar) of the same year. The events that influenced the revolution came about in 1905 and 1914. The 1905 Revolution in Russia was an event that promulgated angst against the Tsar Nicolas II of the Romanov family. The Revolution began with peaceful protests asking for better labor conditions for the Russian industrial workers. It soon turned into a bloody dispute. The Tsar Nicolas II ordered the assassination of protesters in St. Petersburg. This event led to the mobilization of socialist revolutionary parties and public outcry in favor of freedom of speech and a parliament elected by the people. 1914 marked the beginning of World War I and it was the beginning of the end of monarchical rule in Russia. These events were vital for the 1917 Revolution. The Revolution of 1917 was essentially the culmination of continuous social struggles within Russia.
Before 1917, the political structure of Russia was a monarchy. The “divine king” was the Tsar Nicolas II and his control over Russia was indomitable. His decisions were key in causing the Revolution of 1917. One of the things that had a negative effect on the lives of Russian industrial workers was that Nicolas would dismember the “duma” (Russian parliament) as he wished. This caused stagnation in any efforts to improve the lives of workers. The people of Russia remained faithful until the Tsar’s abominable action in St. Petersburg. The Tsar Nicolas II tried to redeem himself in the eyes of his former faithfuls by later pushing Russia into World War I. Russia failed and the lives of many were lost. Meanwhile the decisions of the Tsar changed the peoples attitude dramatically, the socialist movement was underway with leaders like Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky uniting workers under the flag of communism. The Revolution of February in 1917 did not figure these revolutionaries directly but their influence was still felt. In the Revolution of February the Tsar was overthrown and the monarchy was exchanged for a weak representative and provisional government. The Revolution of February 1917 caused a social change by destroying the political structure of monarchy within Russia. But the provisional govt. failed to change conditions for the workers and failed to end Russian involvement in the first World War. These failures invigorated the socialist movement of the Bolshevik group led by Lenin. The Bolsheviks pushed on and in result there was the October Revolution which overthrew the provisional govt. The Bolsheviks established a communist regime in place of a monarchy. They nationalized industry and all sectors of society. The ideology of Karl Marx, which seeks to empower the worker, replaced the ideology of exploiting the worker.
The 1917 revolution brought about social changes in both ideology and political structure. Before the revolution the workers were exploited by the monarchy. The revolution brought about a communist political structure to replace the Russian monarchy. Furthermore the Revolution changed the ideology of class oppression within Russia and brought about an ideology that placed the worker as the most pivotal factor for advancement of the Russian community.
NY Times Articles: Nov. 7 1917 Russian Government Overthrown in Bolshevik Revolution. March 8, 1917 Russia’s February Revolution Begins in St. Petersburg
Documentary: The Russian Revolution in Color.