HISTORY OF RUSSIAN REVOLUTION: ABDICATION OF TSAR OR REVOLT OF THE MASES?

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Abstract


The article shows that in 1917 it was the internal turmoil due to which the tsarist regime collapsed so fast. The crucial role was played by the common idea of the complete incapacity of Nicholas II. The image of the weak power was reinforced by all sorts of rumours about Rasputin’s influence on the government decision-making, his intimate relations with the Empress, and finally, the actions of the authorities in “the interests of Germany.” On the eve of the revolution Russia was rife with rumors of plots against the royal family. This meant that the public opinion was ready for the violent overthrow of the existing government. The dissatisfaction with the hateful government led to a spontaneous revolt, which met no serious resistance from the authorities. The disposal of the Romanovs aroused delight in the society. At the same time, the masses demanded the immediate deliverance from all the burdens of wartime. It could not provide new power. Everywhere crowds destroyed “tsarist” emblems and other attributes of the old power. Even the Russian Orthodox Church almost unanimously turned away from its formal chief. However, very soon it became clear that the political culture of the elites was at odds with the social aspirations of the people. The masses were increasingly called for the immediate solution to all vital problems - particularly to stop the war and immediately resolve the agrarian question. The study of the psychosocial situation in February - March 1917 assures that the monarchy was not so much overthrown by the insurgent people, but collapsed due to the internal incapacity. In fact, people only made the final blow to the exhausted authorities. Hence, the rebellious potential of the masses didn’t manifest itself in full. In this regard, the subsequent attempts of the liberal and right-wing politicians to squeeze the revolutionary process into the framework of formal democracy obviously failed.


About the authors

Vladimir P Buldakov

Institute of Russian History of Russian Academy of Sciences

Author for correspondence.
Email: kuroneko@list.ru
19, Dm. Uliyanova Str., Moscow, 117036, Russia

Dr. of History, Senior Researcher at Institute of Russian History of Russian Academy of Sciences

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