The Bolshevik October revolution in 1917 had substantial relevance in the international politics of the 20th century. The communistic Russian state became the great rival of the western liberal democracy, thus leading to the east-west-conflict and cold war. Before 1917 absolutismAbsolute monarchy is a monarchical form of government in which the monarch has absolute power among his or her people reigned in Russia under the czar’s government. The majority of the population lived in social deficiency and had to suffer starvation. In addition to this peasants lived in total dependence from their landlords.
The 19th century
In the 19th century czar Nikolaus I.Nikolaus I was the Emperor of Russia from 1825 until 1855 acted on the basis of the resolutions made at the Congress of Vienna, thus repressing all liberal movements. Due to the peasant’s abject living conditions, as they lived in total dependence from their landlords, several peasant revolts took place as a protest against the czar’s reign.
The succeeding czar, Alexander II.Alexander II was the Emperor of Russia from 2 March 1855 until his assassination in 1881 found himself forced to end serfdom and to free several million peasants from their landlords. As the peasants had to pay redemption donations however, which most could not afford they remained in their dependence1.
Ever since 1890 Russia had been developing into an industrial super power. This development was encouraged by the economic strategy of Finance minister WitteSergei Witte was a highly influential policy-maker who presided over extensive industrialization within the Russian Empire, who managed to double the industrial production until 1900. The growing number of factory workers lead to the formation of a large labour movement. However the Russian society was far less educated than those in the west, as the Russian majority could neither read nor write. The biggest subsistence could still be gained in agriculture2.
Russia’s political aim in the 19th century was the expansion of the country to an imperialistic super power. Especially after the defeat in the Crimean war (1853-1856) Russia conquered Asian areas like Persia, Afghanistan and China. After Russia tried to invade Manchuria, the conflict with Japan was inevitable, as Japan had its own imperialistic aims and competed with Russia concerning supremacy in Asia. This rivalry led into the in 1904/05 in which Russia was vanquished. This conflict had capital effects on the domestical situation that was already threatened by social discontent. In 1905 the first Russian revolution followed3.