NCERT Solutions for Class 9 Social Science India and the Contemporary World - I Chapter 1 The French Revolution


Why did the Tsarist autocracy collapse in 1917?


(i) The Imperial Russian army came to be known as the ‘Russian steam roller’.

(ii) It was the largest armed force in the world.

(iii) When this army shifted its loyalty and began supporting the revolutionaries, Tsarist power collapsed.


In what ways was the working population in Russia different from other countries in Europe, before 1917?


In the early twentieth century, the majority of Russians were agriculturists. About 85 percent of the Russians earned their living from agriculture. This proportion was higher than most of the European countries. For instance, in France and Germany, the proportion was between 40 - 50 percent. In Russia, cultivator produced for the market as well as for their needs. Russia was a major exporter of grain.


Write a few lines to show what you know about:
  • kulaks
  • the Duma
  • women workers between 1900 and 1930
  • the Liberals
  • Stalin’s collectivisation programme


  • kulaks: ‘kulaks’ was the name for well-to-do peasants. In 1928, the members of the Communist Party attributed the reason for the shortage of grains to the small size of holdings of the ‘kulaks’. After 1917, to develop modern farms under state control, ‘kulaks’ were eliminated and their lands taken away.
  • the Duma: During the 1905 Revolution, the Tsar allowed the creation of an elected consultative Parliament or Duma.
  • women workers between 1900 and 1930:Women workers made up 31 per cent of the factory labour force by 1914, but they were paid less than men. During the February Revolution in 1917, in many factories, women led the way to strikes. This came to be called the International Women’s Day.
  • the Liberals: Liberals opposed the uncontrolled power of dynastic rulers. They wanted to safeguard the rights of individuals against governments. They argued for a representative, elected parliamentary government, subject to laws interpreted by a well-trained judiciary that was independent of rulers and officials. However, they were not ‘democrats’. They did not believe in universal adult franchise (the right of every citizen to vote). They felt men of property mainly should have the vote. They also did not want the vote for women.
  • Stalin’s collectivisation programme: Stalin introduced firm emergency measures through collectivization programme. From 1929, the Communist Party headed by Stalin forced all peasants to cultivate in collective farms (kolkhoz). The bulk of land and implements were transferred to the ownership of collective farms. Peasants worked on the land, and the kolkhoz profit was shared. In protest against the collectivization, peasants resisted the authorities and destroyed their livestock. Between 1929 and 1931, the number of cattle fell by one-third. Those who resisted collectivisation were severely punished. Many were deported and exiled. However, peasants argued that they were not rich and they were not against socialism. They merely did not want to work in collective farms for a variety of reasons. Stalin’s government allowed some independent cultivation, but treated such cultivators unsympathetically.


What were the main changes brought about by the Bolsheviks immediately after the October Revolution?


The following the main changes were brought about by the Bolsheviks immediately after the October Revolution:

(i) Private property was abolished.

(ii )Industry and banks were nationalised in November 1917.

(iii) Land was declared as social property.

(iv) Peasants were allowed to seize land from the nobility.

(v) In cities, Bolsheviks enforced the partition of large houses according to family requirements.

(vi) They banned the use of the old titles of aristocracy.

(vii) New uniforms were designed and the Soviet hat (budeonovka) was chosen for the army and officials in a clothing competition organised in 1918.

(viii) The Bolshevik Party was renamed the Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik).


Make two lists: one with the main events and the effects of the February Revolution and the other with the main events and effects of the October Revolution. Write a paragraph on who was involved in each, who were the leaders and what was the impact of each on Soviet history.


The February Revolution:

22nd February: Factory lockout on the right bank took place in the capital, Petrograd.
25th February: The government suspended the Duma.

27th February: Demonstrators ransacked the Police Headquarters; people raised slogans about bread, wages, better hours and democracy; soldiers of various regiments supported the workers. Soldiers and striking workers gathered to form a ‘soviet’ or ‘council’; this was the Petrograd Soviet.

2nd March: The Tsar is advised by his military commanders to abdicate his power. The Soviet and Duma leaders formed a Provisional Government for Russia. Petrograd led the February Revolution that brought down the monarchy.
The October Revolution:

16th October: Intense conflict between the Provisional Government and the Bolsheviks happened; Lenin persuaded the Petrograd Soviet and the Bolshevik Party to agree to a socialist seizure of power. A Military Revolutionary Committee was appointed by the Soviet under Leon Trotskii to organise the seizure.

24th October: Prime Minister Kerenskii of the Provisional Government had left the city to summon troops. Military men loyal to the government seized the buildings of two Bolshevik newspapers. The Military Revolutionary Committee ordered seizure of government offices and the arrest of ministers. The ship Aurora shelled the Winter Palace. The All Russian Congress of Soviets in Petrograd approved the Bolshevik action. By December, the Bolsheviks controlled the Moscow-Petrograd area.

The leaders of the revolutions and the impact of each on Soviet history:

In the February Revolution, the factory workers with the support of the soldiers revolted against the Tsar. Even the Parliamentarians wishing to preserve elected government, were opposed to the Tsar’s desire to dissolve the Duma.

In the October Revolution, the ordinary masses guided by the Bolsheviks (the Communist Party) under the leadership of Vladimir Lenin ended the Provisional Government and established a socialist system.


What were the social, economic and political conditions in Russia before 1905?


Social and Economic Conditions: 

(i) The Social and economic conditions in Russia before 1905 were backward. About 85 per cent of the Russian empire’s population earned their living from agriculture. 

(ii) Cultivators produced mostly for the market, and Russia was a major exporter of grain.

(iii) Prominent industrial areas were St Petersburg and Moscow. Craftsmen undertook much of the production, but large factories existed alongside craft workshops.

(iv) Many factories were set up with foreign investment, and Russia’s railway network was extended.

(v) Coal production, iron and steel output increased. By the 1900s, factory workers and craftsmen were almost equal in number.

(vi) Industry was the private property of industrialists.

In craft units and small workshops, the working day was 15 hours, compared with 10 or 12 hours in factories.

(vii) Workers were a divided social group by skills and with attachment to the villages from which they came.

Some workers formed associations to help members in times of unemployment and financial hardship.

(viii) In the countryside, peasants cultivated most of the land. They were divided religiously. But the nobility, the crown and the Orthodox Church owned large properties.

(ix) Others had settled in cities permanently. Workers were divided by skill. Russia was witnessing bad economic conditions. The textile industry during 1896-1897, and the metal industry during 1902 witnessed many strikes.

(xi) Nobles got their power and position through their services to the Tsar; however, they were unpopular among the masses.

Political Conditions:

(i) All political parties were illegal in Russia before 1914.

(ii) The Russian Social Democratic Workers Party was founded in 1898 by socialists inspired by Karl Marx’s ideas.

(iii) However, it had to operate as an illegal organisation.

(iv) It set up a newspaper, mobilised workers and organised strikes.

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