Was the October 1917 Revolution a key turning point in the modernisation of Russia?

1477 Words Oct 11th, 2013 6 Pages
History Coursework – B Question
To what extent do you consider that the October 1917 Revolution was a key turning point in the development of modern Russia in the years 1856-1964?

The October 1917 Revolution is undoubtedly a momentous and extremely important event in Russia’s history, one that ousted the centuries-old Tsardom that ruled over the empire, in favour of the radical communist movement in the form of the Bolsheviks, headed by one Vladimir Iliych Lenin. However, did this sudden move from autocracy to a supposedly more progressive democracy actually bring about the modernisation of Russia industrially, agriculturally and culturally, or was it simply a rebranding of a totalitarian state that would continue to oppress the
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The public’s attitude towards the government’s handling of the situation can be summarised by the slogan ‘We ourselves shall not eat but we shall export’. As the turn of the century passed and the October 1917 Revolution approached the reforms of the Tsars had led to increases in industrial output, by 1887 oil production was 27 times greater than it was in 18654, at 244,000 tonnes, yet this was still not enough for a country as big and as rapidly expanding in terms of population and industry. Also increased was the amount of children receiving an education which rose to well over 1,000,0005 by 1878 but compared to the literacy rate of only 21% in 18976 it can be seen that modernisation was a long way off.
Was then, the arrival of Lenin and the Bolsheviks after the October 1917 Revolution the turning point in the modernisation of Russia? Lenin inherited a Russia that was fresh out of an economically draining world war in which it had to cede a significant chunk of its most fertile land to the Germans and was dragged straight into another extremely costly war that brought the new government’s economy to its knees, only saved by the hated but necessary measures of War Communism. So it is important to consider the state in which Russia and its economy was in when Lenin came to power when assessing the lengths to which he modernised the country as he first had to

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