Why did the Russian Imperial monarchy crumble to the ground in February 1917? Communist historians in the USSR used to maintain that it was a collapse waiting to happen and that Lenin and his Bolsheviks delivered the decisive last push [27; 28]. Most writers other than communists rejected this general line. They disliked any such kind of historical determinism; they were also sceptical that the Bolshevik contribution to the downfall of the Romanovs was of much influence. They did agree, though, that the Russian Empire had basic problems. Travellers to Russia before 1917 emphasised how unmodernised the country was and how backward and oppressive the conditions of the lower social orders were. The Imperial order had the reputation of being the ‘prison of the peoples’ and the fortress against democracy and enlightenment in Europe. Revolution was only to be expected in such circumstances.
Swipe to navigate through the chapters of this book
Please log in to get access to this content
To get access to this content you need the following product:
- Unstable Structure, 1900–1914
- Macmillan Education UK
- Sequence number
- Chapter number