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The Russian Revolution was a period of political and social revolution that took place in the former Russian Empire which began during the First World War. This period saw Russia abolish its monarchy and adopt a socialist form of government following two successive revolutions and a bloody civil war. The Russian Revolution can also be seen as the precursor for the other European revolutions that occurred during or in the aftermath of WWI, such as the German Revolution of 1918.
The Russian Revolution was inaugurated with the February Revolution in 1917, this first revolt focused in and around the then-capital Petrograd (now Saint Petersburg). After major military losses during the war, the Russian Army had begun to mutiny. Army leaders and government officials were convinced that if Tsar Nicholas II abdicated the domestic unrest would subside. Nicholas agreed and stepped down, ushering in a new government lead by the Russian Duma (parliament)which became the Russian Provisional Government. This government was dominated by the interests of prominent capitalists, as well as the Russian nobility and aristocracy.
In response to this grassroots community assemblies (called Soviets) were formed. These Soviets were led by soldiers and urban industrial proletariats, as well as farmers. The Soviets initially permitted the new Provisional Government to rule however the Soviets did insist on a prerogative (privilege) in order to influence the government and to control various militias. Because of this, Russia was locked in a dual power as neither government trusted the other. The Provisional Government held state power such as military and international affairs whereas network of Soviets, took control of domestic affairs. Critically, the soviets held the allegiance of the working-class as well as the growing urban middle class.
During this chaotic period, there were frequent mutinies, protests and strikes. Many socialist and other leftist political organizations were engaged in daily struggle and vied for influence within the Duma and the Soviets. One of these factions were the Bolsheviks ("Ones of the Majority") led by Vladimir Lenin. Lenin campaigned on a slogan of peace, land, and bread which promised to cease war with Germany, give land to the peasantry, and end the famine caused by Russia's involvement in WWI. These slogans had a direct effect on the growing Bolshevik popularity. Despite the virtual universal disdain towards the war effort, the Provisional Government chose to continue fighting anyway, giving the Bolsheviks and other socialist factions a justification to advance the revolution further. The Bolsheviks merged various workers' militias loyal to them into Red Guards, (later the Red Army), which would be capable of revolution.The volatile situation in Russia climaxed with the October Revolution, which was a Bolshevik armed insurrection by workers and soldiers in Petrograd that successfully overthrew the Provisional Government, transferring all its authority to the Bolsheviks. Under pressure from German military offensives, the Bolsheviks soon relocated the national capital to Moscow. The Bolsheviks had secured a strong base of support within the Soviets and, as the supreme governing party, established the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR) which was dedicated to reorganizing the former empire into the world's first socialist state, to practice soviet democracy on a national and international scale. Their promise to end Russia's participation in the First World War was fulfilled when the Bolshevik leaders signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with Germany in March 1918. To further secure the new state, the Bolsheviks established the Cheka, a secret police that functioned as a revolutionary security service to weed out, execute, or punish those considered to be "enemies of the people" in campaigns consciously modeled on those of the French Revolution.
Despite broad support in urban areas, the Bolsheviks had many enemies that refused to recognize their government. As a result a bloody civil war erupted among the "Reds" (Bolsheviks), the "Whites" (counter-revolutionaries), the independence movements, monarchists, and other socialist factions opposed to the Bolsheviks. It continued for several years, during which the Bolsheviks defeated both the Whites and all rival socialists. Victorious, they reconstituted themselves as the Communist Party. In the aftermath of the civil war, the RSFSR established Soviet power in the newly independent republics of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia and Ukraine. The RSFSR undertook an effort to unify these nations under one flag and thus created the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in 1922. While many notable historical events occurred in Moscow and Petrograd, there were also major changes in cities throughout the state, and among national minorities throughout the empire and in the rural areas, where peasants took over and redistributed land.

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