The Russian Revolution took place 100 years ago.
The revolution ended a political system based on the leadership of a single person. It also led to the rise of the Soviet Union.
A century ago, Russia’s Tsar Nicholas the Second was forced to give up power because of a rebellion against his rule. It is known as the “February” Revolution because Russia used the Gregorian calendar for record-keeping purposes.
Some Russians still defend the old system and its leaders. Some of them hope Russia will someday have a new tsar.
The Russian revolution led to the creation of a provisional or temporary government. Months later, Bolshevik activists overthrew that government. That led to the rise of the Soviet Union and the spread of communism.
World War I was taking place 100 years ago. Russia fought on the side of the Allies, which included Britain, France and the United States. They were fighting the Central Powers, which included Germany, Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire.
In St. Petersburg, living conditions worsened as the fighting continued. Many Russians were unhappy with the corruption they saw. Tens of thousands of factory workers turned against the tsar.
Igor Savrasov is the director of the Kirov Factory museum.
“It was the third year of the war. There was not a big difference among the workers. There was a shortage of bread for everyone.”
Wealthy families and supporters of the tsar fled Russia. But some returned later to join the new government.
Ivan Artsishevskiy teaches at the Center of Effective Communications.
“I served in the Soviet army, so I fully went through the system. In my family, we all believed in being with Russia, whether it’s for good or for bad.”
Artsishevskiy helped rebury members of Russia’s last royal family. They were executed by the Bolsheviks.
“As the result of the Soviet ‘achievements,’ a huge part of our genetic pool was destroyed, and the selection was of negative character. So now we must correct it.”
A group called the Russian Imperial House works to keep alive the memory of the Romanov family, Russia’s former rulers. Alexander Zakatov leads the group.
“We continue to stick to our monarchical convictions. And we continue to believe that monarchy for Russia is a historically natural mode of existence. Russia was a monarchy for more than a thousand years before the revolution, which brought us a lot of misfortunes.”
Zakatov admits that there is little support in Russia for the return of a ruling family. Few Russians mourn the loss of monarchical rule. But many still remember the Bolsheviks who seized power, the civil war that followed and the Soviet system they established.
I’m John Smith.
VOA Moscow Correspondent Daniel Schearf reported this story from St. Petersburg, Russia. John Smith adapted the story for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.
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Words in This Story
calendar – n. a document, chart, etc., that shows the days, weeks and months of a year
royal – adj. of or relating to a king or queen
genetic pool -- n. the stock of different genes in an interbreeding population.
negative – adj. harmful or bad; not wanted
character – n. the good qualities of a person that usually include moral or emotional strength, honesty and fairness
stick to – phrasal verb to not change (a decision, belief, etc.)
monarchy – n. a form of government in which a country is ruled by a monarch such as a king or queen
conviction – n. a strong belief or opinion
misfortune – n. bad luck