Russian Revolution

The Russian Revolution

The Russian Revolution traces the history of Russia from 1861-1923. The unit focuses on the political, social, and economic conditions that led to the fall of the Tsar and explores the competing political ideologies that contested Russia's future in 1917

In the early spring of 1917, millions of Russian people poured into the streets and clamored for "democracy," a word that meant different things to different people at the time. 

The Russian Revolution marked the beginning of an effort to remake the world using socialism. Today, socialism, as imagined by Marx and Lenin, seems to have been consigned "...to the dustbin of history," to use Trotsky's phrase. Yet it is also worth considering why those with aspirations of building a liberal democracy in Russia failed to do so in 1917. What conditions existed that allowed Lenin to grab the reins of power and put into place a totalitarian state and not a democracy? What are the role and responsibilities of citizens in political transitions? What lessons exist for us today as societies undergo political change?

Part I: The Beginning of the End: 1861 to 1905

Part II: "We Can No Longer Live Like This" 1905-1917

Epilogue: Lenin and the Bolsheviks Take Power

Russian Revolution: Videos for Lessons

Featured Scholars

Tom Gleason photo
Brown University
Patricia Herlihy photo
Brown University