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Revoliutsioniie Prava: Rights as Weapons in the Russian Revolution, 1893-1917


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In February of 1917 Tsar Nicholas 2nd abdicated the Russian throne and ended the three-century old Romanov dynasty. In October of the same year, the Bolsheviks violently overthrew the interim Provisional Government. The struggle for power in Russia was the biproduct of decades of conflict between the tsar, the Russian people, and intra-revolutionary rivals. This study explores how and to what effect Nicholas 2nd weaponized rights to maintain power, and conversely how and to what effect revolutionaries weaponized rights to gain power. It also analyzes the impact rights as weapons had on the chain of revolutionary events. Given the autocratic tsarist form of government and within the broader struggle for power, rights as weapons played a key role in helping Nicholas 2 hold off revolution and retain power. In contrast, those who sought to depose the tsar and gain power found themselves at a growing position of advantage. As revolutionaries and ordinary Russian citizens continued to weaponize rights to achieve their ends they slowly chipped away at Nicholas 2nd's total power until the very foundations of Russian social, economic, and military structures were so weak the tsar had no choice but to concede the throne.



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