Q1. What were the social, economic and political conditions in Russia before 1905?


Social conditions-

  • Before 1905 Russian society was divided into three classes- the clergy nobility and peasant.
  • The conditions of the peasants was pathetic, they cultivated most of the land.
  • The nobility  and the church owned large properties.
  • The peasants wanted the land of nobles and fought for them, frequently they refused to pay rent and even murdered landlords.

Economic conditions-

  • About 80% of Russian population earned a living from agriculture.
  • Industry was found in pockets. Prominent industrial areas were St. Ptersburg and Moscow.
  • Most industries was the property of industrialists.
  • Workers were living a very miserable life.

Political conditions-

  • Russia at the time of the revolution was under the autocracy of Tsar Nicholas II.
  • Tsar believed in the Devine Rights of Kings.
  • People were not satisfied with his governance.
  • The majority religion was Russian orthodox Christianity.

Q2. In what ways was the working population in Russia different from other countries in  Europe before 1917?


  • Before 1917 the vast majority of Russia’s people were agriculturists.
  • In Russia industrialization started late. As a result industry was found in pockets.
  • Russian peasants had no respect for the nobles.
  • In Russia peasants were violent and frequently refused to pay rent and even murdered landlords.
  • Russian peasants pooled their land together periodically and tjheir commune divided it according to the needs of individual families.

Q3. Why did Tsarist autocracy collapse in 1917?


  • Tsar Nicholas II was not an efficient ruler. He still believed in the autocratic rights of the kings.
  • Tsarina Alexandra’s German origins and poor advisers, especially Rasputin made the autocracy very unpopular.
  • The bureaucracy that Tsar recruited was too inefficient.
  • When Russia’s army lost badly in Germany and Austria between 1914 to 1916. The Russian army destroyed crops and buildings to prevent the enemy from being able to live off the land. This situation discredited the government and the Tsar.
  • Peasants and workers condition was too miserable and the Tsar never paid even a slight attention to their condition.

Q4. Make two lists: one with the main events and the effects of the February Revolution and the other with the main events and effects of the October Revolution. Write a paragraph on who was involved in each, who were the leaders and what was the impact of each on Soviet history.

Ans. The main events of the February Revolution-

  • In the winter of 1917, conditions in the capital Petrograd were grim. there had been exceptional frost and heavy snow. This aggravated food problem. Food shortages were deeply felt in the workers quarters.
  • Parliamentarians wishing to preserve elected government, were opposed to The Tsar’s desire to dissolve the Duma.
  • On 22nd February a lockout took place at a factory on the right bank of the river Neva.  The next day workers in 50 factories called a strike in sympathy. Soon the government imposed  a curfew. But in next few days people ransacked the police headquarters and rising slogans about bread, wages  and better hours and democracy.

Effects of February Revolution-

  • The Tsar abdicated on 2nd March, thus monarchy was brought down.
  • Soviet leaders  and Duma leaders formed a provisional government to run the country.
  • Russia’s future would be decided by a constituent assembly elected on the basis of universal adult suffrage.

The main events of the October Revolution-

  • The October revolution occurred due to the conflict between the provisional government  and the Bolsheviks.
  • Lenin feared the provisional government would setup a dictatorship so Bolshevik supporters in the army, soviets and factories were brought together.
  • On 16th October 1917 lenin persuaded the Petrograd soviet and the Bolshevik party to agree to a socialist seizure of power.
  • The Military Revolutionary Committee ordered its supporters to seize government offices and arrest ministers.
  • Uprising took place in other cities also and by December the Bolshevik became successful in controlling the Moscow- Petrograd area.

Effects of the October Revolution-

  • The October Revolution marked the beginning of Lenin’s rule over the soviet, with Bolsheviks under his guidance.
  • Most industry and banks were nationalized in November 1917.
  • In cities Bolsheviks enforced the partition of large houses according to family requirements.
  • The Bolsheviks made peace treaty  with Germany in March 1918. In the years that followed the Bolsheviks became the only party to participate in the elections for the parliament, Russia became the one party state.

Q5. What were the main changes brought about by the Bolsheviks immediately after the October revolution?


  • The Bolsheviks were against private property hence most industry and banks were nationalized.
  • Land was declared social property the peasants were allowed to seize the lands of the nobility.
  • In cities Bolsheviks enforced the partition of large houses according to family requirements.
  • Old titles of aristocracy were banned.
  • New uniforms were designed for the army and officials.
  • The Bolshevik party was renamed the Russian Communist Party.
  • Trade unions were kept under party control.

Q6. Write a few lines to show what you know about.

i) Kulaks- Kulaks were the wealthy peasants of Russia. In 1927-28 the towns in Soviet Russia  were facing acute problem of grain supplies. Stalin believed that these kulaks were holding stocks in the hope of higher prices. Hence it was essential to eliminate them.

ii) The Duma- The Duma was the elected consultative parliament which was created during 1905 Revolution. Tsar Nicholas II endowed it with legislative powers. But real authority or power was enjoyed by the Tsar only.

iii) Women workers between 1900 and 1930- women made up 31% of the factory labour force by 1914, but they were paid less than men. They proved themselves a great inspiring force for their male co-workers.  

iv) The Liberals- The Liberals in Russia during the early 20th century were those people who wanted to change society. They wanted a nation which tolerated all religions. They were also not in favour of uncontrolled power of dynastic rulers. They wanted representative elected parliamentary government. v) Stalin’s collectivization programme- In 1927-28 the towns in Soviet Russia  were facing acute problem of grain supplies. Stalin believed that these kulaks were holding stocks in the hope of higher prices. Hence kulaks were raided and their land was taken to establish state controlled large farms. All peasants were told to cultivate in collective farms called kolkhoz.