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The effects of World War  gave rise to the Russian Revolution of 1917. By the end of 1916, two years of total war had placed enormous strain on all combatant nations. None felt this more severely than Russia, which had entered the war confident but in a precarious political, economic and social state. The Russian economy made great industrial advances in the two decades prior to 1914, but it was still under-developed and ill-equipped to supply a prolonged war. Russia’s government was still dominated by the tsarist autocracy, which claimed political authority that was divine rather than popular. The Russian people were already fractious, dissatisfied and eager for change. In 1905 their demands had taken the empire to the brink of revolution, before tensions were eased with promises of reform – promises that were never truly fulfilled. The Russian empire rested on what historian Orlando Figes called ‘unstable pillars’, and they were unable to sustain its involvement in one of the most intense wars in history.
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