What Were the Causes of the Russian Revolution?


Quick Answer

The causes of the 1917 Russian Revolution were the long-term effects of poverty, industrial revolution, ineffective rule and growing political unrest. As a result, World War I became the catalyst that sparked the revolt.

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Full Answer

As of 1916, three-quarters of the Russian population had been freed from serfdom in 1861 but were deep in debt to the government. This subsistence peasant class grew increasingly resentful of rich landowners who tried to control them, and many relocated to cities in order to find work in the newly developed manufacturing industry. What they found were overcrowded urban areas with dismal living conditions, poor wages and brutal working conditions.

The ineffective tsar not only failed to understand his country's impoverished conditions, but he also ignored the need for reform and created more resentment by eliminating any type of freedom of expression. Lacking an organized government that could address the problems, educated members of the growing middle class became increasingly politicized and began organizing and protesting in solidarity with the peasants, workers and disenfranchised soldiers. The advent of World War I served to further underscore the tsar's failures, as limited Russian resources were diverted to aid the war effort, resulting in an open revolt against the aristocracy.

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