In 1905, an attempt was made to overthrow the Old Order but with limited success.
In the 1860s, Tsar Alexander II freed the serfs so that they became free peasants, and could move about in search of different work.
Some stayed in the rural areas as farmers or peasants, but others chose to go to the urban areas to become wage labourers in the developing factories.
The Soviet Union (as Russia came to be known) developed into one of the strongest nations in the world and entered into a protracted power struggle with America in the Cold War, as Russia challenged America and the rest of the capitalist world.
This standoff ended in 1990, with the fall of communism and the disintegration of the Soviet Union. It was a mostly an agricultural country, as industrialisation only began in the late 1800s and was slower to take place than in many other European countries.
By the early 20th century, Russia was one of the most backward countries in Europe.
It was still ruled by a Tsar under the Old Order and the majority of the population lived in poverty.Tsar Nicholas II was an absolute emperor with unlimited political power.The upper class owned much of the land but had no political say.Without land of their own, they were still compelled to work for others to survive.These figures from the 1897 census give a good idea of what the social structure in tsarist Russia looked like: Although Europe had begun a process of industrialisation since the beginning of the 19th century, Russia lagged far behind.The new Provisional Government proved unable to stabilise the country.Vladimir Ilych Lenin led the November 1917 revolution that replaced the Provisional Government with the communist Bolshevik Party.Before the Revolution, Russia was a large empire under an absolute monarch, the Tsar. Russian society was divided loosely into four groups.These were the ruling class (nobility), the upper class (clergy), the commercial or middle class, and the masses (workers and peasants).These were farmers or peasants who worked the land of the nobility and were the legal property of the landowner for whom they worked.They had no rights and were forbidden to leave their landlords, who could order them to do whatever he chose.