The Impact of Karl Marx’s Theory on the 1917 Communist Revolution in Russia

1. Introduction

The 1917 Communist Revolution in Russia was one of the most important events in the history of the 20th century. It led to the establishment of the world’s first socialist state and had a profound impact on the course of world history. The revolution was, in large part, a result of the theoretical work of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. In this essay, we will briefly summarize Marx’s theory and its role in the revolution. We will then discuss how Lenin modifiedMarxist theory in the years after the revolution.

2. Karl Marx and his theory

Karl Marx was a German philosopher, economist, sociologist, historian, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. His work is characterized by a critical analysis of capitalism and an emphasis on class conflict. For Marx, the history of all hitherto existing societies is the history of class struggle (Marx & Engels, 1848). He believed that economic development is determined by underlying economic forces and that political and social change is a result of economic change. This is known as economic determinism.

Marx divided society into two classes: the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. The bourgeoisie are the owners of capital who live off the labor of the proletariat. The proletariat are the working class who are exploited by the bourgeoisie. Marx believed that the proletariat would eventually overthrow the bourgeoisie in a revolution and establish a socialist society.

3. The Russian Revolution of 1917

The Russian Revolution began in February 1917 with mass protests against the Tsarist regime. These protests were sparked by economic hardship and discontent with the autocratic rule of Tsar Nicholas II. In October 1917, Bolshevik Party leader Vladimir Lenin led a successful revolution that overthrew the Tsarist regime. Lenin and his fellow Bolsheviks then established the Soviet Union, the world’s first socialist state.

4. Lenin and the Bolsheviks

In the years after the revolution, Lenin and his fellow Bolsheviks modified Marxist theory to fit their own political goals. They developed what is known as Leninism, an ideology that emphasizes revolutionary action and suggests that a vanguard party is necessary to lead the proletariat to socialism. Lenin also modified Marx’s idea of economic determinism to suggest that it is not just economic factors that drive history, but also political factors.

5. Conclusion

In conclusion, Karl Marx’s theory played a significant role in shaping both the 1917 Communist Revolution and subsequent Soviet Union. Lenin’s modification of Marxist theory was essential to Bolshevik success in Russia and helped to shape Soviet ideology for decades to come.


Karl Marx's key ideas were about class struggle and the need for a proletariat revolution to overthrow the bourgeoisie. These ideas influenced the Russian Revolution because the Bolsheviks used them to justify their seizure of power in 1917.

The Bolsheviks used Marx's ideas to justify their seizure of power in 1917 by claiming that they represented the interests of the working class, and that a revolution was necessary to overthrow the bourgeois government.

Marxism did play a role in the Soviet Union's eventual collapse, as many scholars have argued that its economic system was unsustainable in the long term.