Tsarist Russia 1917

Tsar Nicholas 11

What do you know about Russia? I mean the year of 1917 where it all happened? I am studying Russia now, already crawling to my assessment in a few days about this topic then moving on to The USA. So if you’re struggling, this is the place for you 🙂

Going through the basics of Russia.
Some of you may already know little things about the collapse of the Tsarist Regime, but I’m going to outline what you REALLY need to know like:

  • The collapse of the Tsarist Regime (1917)
  • The Tsarist System of Government
  • Discontent
  • The growth of Opposition
  • The impact of WW1

Useful for you so far?


What is a Tsar? Any ideas? Well… ‘Tsar’ is a russian word for ‘King’ (this is very important to understand as I’m going to be mentioning it for at least a thousand times).

Tsar Nicholas 11 - Letter of abdication from the throne (2nd March, 1917)

Russia in 1917 as you may know have a Tsar called ‘King Nicholas 11’ . He had to abdicate due to the growth of the opposition and the impact of the First World War in , as it was too much to handle. Tsar Nicholas 11 ruled as an autocrat who held absolute power in his country but the problem with him was, he didn’t actually know what to do with his power. He didn’t handle situations very well. E.g. the army was poorly equipped due to the shortages of weapons and ammuntion. They suffered many defeats between the Russian’s and the Germans – The Battle Of Tannenburg (August 1914).


As I’ve said before the Russian monarch ruled as an autocrat and he believed that God made him Tsar and he was made for the rule of Russia, therefore he had absolute power over Russia. The Tsar had many help and advice from the aristocracy (landowners), the church, the army and the civil service believing that Russia has a great success in the future. But they were wrong. They’re beliefs have turned the wrong corner and crashed into a wall. The Tsar had been crowned at the wrong moment hoping that he would bring happiness to Russia but couldn’t because of the crisis of WW1.


Russia is made up of different nationalities around the globe (e.g. Lithuanians). People who couldn’t speak Russian or didn’t know the customs of Russian beliefs and religion were forced to know and accept them as who they are. But the people wanted their own independance. 80% of the population of Russia were made of peasants and they often lived in extreme poverty and wanted their own land in the countryside but only the people who had mountains of money were able to own them. People’s working wage was very… no… extremely low, not enough to supply a whole family with food. But people who lived in large cities like Petrograd and Moscow lived in overcrowded conditions and worked very long hours and were also paid little money.


Russia was made up of several groups of political parties who were working on opposing the Tsar. Tactics to move the Tsar out of their lives as he was no good to Russia and no improvements had been made to make the peasants live an easier life

Social Revolutionaries Poster

A Bolshevik Poster

than before. T

hese groups were:

  • Social Revolutionaries – This group was the largest and known as a ‘violent’group which were supported by the peasants. They believedthat the peasants were the power base of theRussianrevolution and that’s one of the reasons how they gained the attention of the peasants, making them feel special and not-small. The Social Revolutionaries wanted to strip the land off the the landowner and hand it over to the peasants.
  • The Bolsheviks – The Bolsheviks played a main role in the Russian history. They promised the peasants (their slogan) “Peace, Bread and Land” and were willingto do anything to get what they wanted. This political party was led by a strong leader called ‘Lenin’ who also wanted to remove the Tsar from his throne and set up a communist government.
  • The Mensheviks – the mensheviks…  what can I say? They wanted to work with the current government.
  • The Constituition Democrats/Kadets – this was a liberal party in the Russian party. They were usually supported by proffessionals e.g. lawyers. They dominated the first Duma which helped them a lot because of the impact of the first world war – peasants began to look upto them as the Tsar had abdicated before.

And who were they? Why are they important to Russia? Because just one of them helped Russia to get what they wanted. Just one. And they are the Bolsheviks.

National Bolshevik Party Symbol


The First World War was a bad sign for the Tsar. It gnawed at his crown everytime the peasants complained about food or their wages because he usually has NO clue in how to solve it.

1914 – Russia + England + France vs. Germany + Austria-Hungary.

And what was the worst thing the Tsar had chosen to do? He left the governent in the hands of his wife… how good is that? Well… it was a DISASTER as the days wore by. This created HUGE problems such as:

  • Because Queen Alexandra was German, the people did not accept her the way she is. This made her unpopular.
  • Whilst the Tsar was out in December 1916 (assassinated) she was under the hands of a poor, drunk,  monk called ‘Rasputin’.
  • Alexandra dissmissed capable ministers and refused to accept the advice of the Duma.
  • She misled the Tsar about the extent of opposition in Petrograd.

(If you are to have an exam on this topic then you wouldn’t need to worry about the influence and deaths of Rasputin (topic of 1917).


ONE BIG MISTAKE OF THE TSAR: As there were many failures of defeat with the Russians against the German’s the Tsar made a big mistake of not providing them with enough ammunition and weapons. They failed again and this made the people think that it was all the Tsar’s fault.


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