The Russian Revolution module (HY41055)

Explore the history of Russia from the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 to the formation of the Soviet Union in 1922. 

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Module code


This module covers the history of Russia from the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 to the formation of the Soviet Union in 1922. It explores the dramatic events that caused the collapse of the Russian Empire and led to the formation of the Soviet Union, the world’s first communist state.

At the centre of the module is the question of power – how it is lost, contested, and regained, as well as what happens to society and culture in such circumstances.

Topics covered in this module include:

  • Russia and the First World War
  • The February Revolution
  • The Provisional Government
  • The Peasantry and the Revolution
  • The October Revolution
  • Terror and Dictatorship
  • The Russian Civil War
  • Culture and Daily Life in Revolution
  • The Nationalities Question
  • The Revolution and the Wider World

What you will learn

In this module, you will:

  • learn about the political, social, economic, and cultural processes that destabilised the Russian Empire, sparked revolution and civil war, and enabled the Bolshevik (Communist) Party to defeat its enemies
  • study relevant primary sources for the subject sourced from people who were directly involved in the Russian Revolution

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • understand the causes, events, and consequences of the Russian Revolution
  • contribute to debates about the Russian Revolution
  • analyse primary sources from the Russian Revolution

Assignments / assessment

  • essay (50%)
  • unseen exam (50%)

Teaching methods / timetable

  • weekly one-hour lectures
  • weekly two-hour discussion seminars
    • required reading for the seminars will include primary sources
    • questions to think about will be provided

By thinking about the weekly questions, participating in seminar discussions, and asking your own questions in response, you will deepen your understanding of the topics that we cover. This will also help you to write an effective essay and to prepare for the module exam.


This module is available on following courses: