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The Russian Revolution was a pair of revolutions in Russia in 1917 which dismantled the Tsarist autocracy and led to the rise of the Soviet Union.
The Russian Empire collapsed with the abdication of Emperor Nicholas II and the old regime was replaced by a provisional government during the first revolution of February 1917 (March in the Gregorian calendar; the older Julian calendar was in use in Russia at the time).
The February Revolution took place in the context of heavy military setbacks during the First World War (1914–18), which left much of the Russian Army in a state of mutiny.
A period of dual power ensued, during which the Provisional Government held state power while the national network of soviets, led by socialists, had the allegiance of the lower classes and, increasingly, the left-leaning urban middle class.
On March 3, 1918, in the city of Brest-Litovsk, located in modern-day Belarus near the Polish border, Russia signed a treaty with the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Ottoman Empire, Bulgaria) ending its participation in World War I (1914-18).
With the November 11, 1918, armistice ending World War I and marking the Allies’ victory over Germany, the treaty was annulled.
In 1917, two revolutions swept through Russia, ending centuries of imperial rule and setting in motion political and social changes that would lead to the formation of the Soviet Union.