Revolution Glossary

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Alexander Kerensky

Served as the second prime minister in the Provisional Government of 1917, until its overthrow in October. Kerensky’s failure to end the war contributed to polarisation and his eventual reliance on the workers to defend him against a right-wing coup in August 1917.

April Theses

A series of instructions issued by Lenin on his return to Russia. Contrary to what the Bolsheviks had planned to do, Lenin argued they should not participate in the Provisional Government and continue to argue for communist policies within the soviets. These separated the Bolsheviks off from every other party at the time.


Father Gapon

A Russian Orthodox priest who led the 1905 Revolution. It is suspected and still not proven that he was a police spy.


Leon Trotsky

Russian Revolutionary who was a member of the small Mezhrainotsy party, close to the Mensheviks. He joined the Bolsheviks in . During the October revolution he organised the military committees, a role he took up by leading the army during the Civil War. He was Lenin’s chosen successor, but went onto be part of a power struggle with Joseph Stalin.


Russian Civil War

October 1917- October 1922, a war between the Red Army (supporters of the newly founded Bolshevik state) and the White Army (opponents of the state including troops from Britain, Japan, the US and France). The Red Army eventually won the war at great cost to the economy and political freedoms.



Russian word for “workers council”, a form of workers organisation that came out of the 1905 revolution. The soviets were organised based on workplaces in different areas and included workers, peasants and members of the army and navy. After the October Revolution they became the main form of government in Russia.


Tsar Nicholas II

The head of the Romanov family and leader of Russia from 1894-1917. He was assassinated in July 1918 and was the last Emperor of Russia. His reign saw imperial Russia go from being one of the world’s foremost powers to economic and social collapse.


Vladimir Lenin

Russian Revolutionary and leader of the Bolshevik party. Lenin was in exile until April 1917 when he returned to Russia to lead the party during the October revolution. He continued to lead the party during the Civil War up until his death in 1924.