1858 - 1917: Czars were the types of leaders in Russia during this period. While some of them became Enlightened despots, others were quite ignorant and cared little about the working class. Czar Nicholas II and his wife were such examples. Their leadership was extremely weak and there was widespread discontent among ALL classes.
THE MARCH REVOLUTION
1917: 200,000 workers stormed the Russian streets shouting, "Down with the autocracy!" Even soldiers supported them. After the uprising, Czar Nicolas II stepped down. A year later, revolutionaries assassinated him. This led to formation of soviets, which were local councils consisting of workers.
THE BOLSHEVIK REVOLUTION
Fall 1917: Armed factory workers began arresting the leaders of the provisional government. Vladimir Lenin began giving control of the country to the workers. In March 1918, Russia and Germany signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, which surrendered a large part of Russia to the Germans.
THE WHITE ARMY
1918- 1920: After the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, there was a widespread anger and a feeling of humiliation among the Russian people. These were the opponents of the Bolsheviks and called themselves the White Army. The army included groups that wanted the czar rule, others who wanted democracy and some others who opposed Lenin. Even after the humongous loss of life, Lenin's Red Army won.
LENIN RESTORES ORDER
1920-1922: Lenin began his work on restoring Russia. He came up with the New Economic Policy (NEP). Under NEP, peasants could sell some of their farmland but major control of economic affairs was given to the government. In order to curb nationalism, Lenin organized Russia into multiple state republics under a central government. Russia's new name was now the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). The Bolsheviks also renamed their party, "The Communist Party".
STALIN'S RISE TO POWER
1922 - 1953 : After Lenin's stroke in 1922, talks of a new leader were coming up. Joseph Stalin was a cold and ruthless Bolshevik. As general secretary of the Communist Party, he began positioning himself as a leader. By 1928, Stalin was in total control of the Communist Party.