What is the Russian Revolution? - Lenin and Stalin
Welcome to Quatr.us Study Guides!

Russian Revolution


By the late 1800s, people in Asia were looking at the new republican governments in Europe and the United States, and beginning to ask why they couldn't vote for their leaders too. As in China at the same time, many people wanted to have factories and machines the way people did in Europe and the United States. In the middle of World War I, in 1917, Russian people were especially angry because the Russian army wasn't doing well. First they shot the last Czar, Nicholas II. Then they put in a Communist government led by Lenin, which ended Russia's fighting in World War I by making a treaty with Germany.

The demands of this revolution were the same as in most revolutions: the cancellation of debts and the redistribution of land. The government took land away from rich families and gave it out to poor farmers. Lenin also began to build modern roads and factories and change farming over to tractors and combines instead of oxen and horses. Women got equal rights with men in theory, though there were no women in positions of power in the new government. Jewish people also got more freedom and less persecution, and there were many Jewish people in the new government.


Lenin died when he was 54 years old, in 1924, and then there was a fight between Trotsky, who wanted full communism, and Stalin, who wanted power for himself. Stalin won, and soon Stalin was just as much in control as any of the old Czars. Stalin killed millions of people who he thought might disagree with him. Millions more died fighting Germany and Japan in World War II. And, just as in China, millions of people starved because of problems with industrializing farming.

Stalin died in 1953, and although he had children, his minister Krushchev took power. Krushchev kept all the power in his own hands. He tried to fix the problems with the farms and get everyone enough food - partly by buying wheat from the United States and Canada - but his ministers thought he wasn't doing a good job, and in 1964 they replaced him with Brezhnev. Brezhnev didn't accomplish much either, and Russia didn't keep up with new ideas in Europe and North America.


When Brezhnev died in 1982, Gorbachev soon took power. Russia abandoned its claim to its empire, and in 1991 many parts of the old Russia became independent countries: Lithuania, Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and many others.

Many people thought that Gorbachev's choices would lead to democracy in Russia, but recently Russia's current leader, Putin, has moved in the other direction, making sure that most of the power stays in his own hands, as it was in the time of the Czars.

Early Russia
Republic of China

Bibliography and further reading:

People's Republic of China
Central Asia
Quatr.us home

LIMITED TIME OFFER FOR TEACHERS: Using this article with your class? Show us your class page where you're using this article, and we'll send you a free subscription so all your students can use Quatr.us Study Guides with no distractions! (Not a teacher? Paid subscriptions are also available for just $16/year!)
Please help other teachers and students find us: link to this page from your class page.
Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
Cite this page
  • Author: K.E. Carr
  • Title:
  • Site Name: Quatr.us Study Guides
  • Publisher: Quatr.us
  • Date Published:
Did you find what you needed? Ask your teacher to link to this page so other people can use it too! Send it in and win a Quatr.us "Great Page!" award!
Sign up for more free articles and special offers in Quatr.us' weekly newsletter:
We will never share your e-mail address unless you allow us to do so. View our privacy policy. Easy unsubscribe links are provided in every email.
Comment on This Article

Does your class page honor diversity, celebrate feminism, and support people of color, LBGTQ people, and people with disabilities? Let us know, and we'll send you a Diversity Banner you can proudly display!
Looking for more?
Quatr.us is loading comments...
(Comments will appear after moderation, if they are kind and helpful. Feel free to ask questions, and we'll try to answer them.)
Cite this page
  • Carr, K.E. . Quatr.us Study Guides, . Web. 29 March, 2017