Before the Revolution, Russia was a large empire under an absolute monarch, the Tsar. Russian society was divided loosely into four groups.
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 state and the higher, privileged classes exploited them harshly.
A large portion of the peasantry was made up of serfs.
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.
Free enterprise: The freedom for private businesses to operate for a profit without interference from the government. The start of Communism in Russian can be attributed to the harsh inequalities of 19th century life.
Communism developed from the ideas of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, and became popular amongst the workers of Russia due to the many difficulties experienced through tsarist rule.
In 1905, an attempt was made to overthrow the Old Order but with limited success.
Dissatisfaction escalated especially after the Tsar's decision to enter the First World War.