What is a difference between the revolution in Egypt that sprung recently and the Russian Revolution of 1917

i need to find a difference between the revolution that happened recently in Egypt, forcing mubarak out of power and the russian revolution of 1917.

The difference must be related to the causes and circumstances around the revolutions.

  • You used Linguistics tags, but your question mentions about historical issues, not historical linguistic issues...
    – Alenanno
    Commented Jan 29, 2012 at 17:07
  • I voted off-topic but really it should be migrated to history.SE Commented Jan 29, 2012 at 17:33
  • @canadiancreed any change you could merge this into the other one? Commented Jan 29, 2012 at 21:45
  • 2
    What the heck is "Russian patriarchs" tag?
    – DVK
    Commented Feb 1, 2012 at 15:02
  • 1
    The question is uncorrect - what Russion revolution? March or October? (by new style, February or November)
    – Gangnus
    Commented Feb 2, 2012 at 23:06

7 Answers 7


While there are many similarities in the causes (high unemployment, poverty, a feeling of opression from the regime etc.), the mechanics are somewhat different.

I would say that in the Russian revolution of 1917, the people had a leader, an elite, and an ideology of how the state should be after the revolution. While it is true, in hindsight, that the leader and elite were working mostly for themselves, and the ideology never materialised into proper Communism (they got stuck in the transitional phase), there was at least a clear thought as to where the revolution was going, and what it wanted to achieve.

With the recent uprising in Egypt, you could metaphorically say that it wasn't one revolution of a million people, but a million single-person revolutions. There was no clear ideology binding the protesters, except that the current situation must be changed. There was no clear vision of what it should be changed to.

As a caveat, note that the Arab Spring is only barely over, and we do not yet have the proper historical perspective with which to view it. That will be for the historians of the next generation. 

  • 2
    Sorry, this is way off base. "it wasn't one revolution of a million people, but a million single-person revolutions" - No. It was a discreet set of revolutions, but there were 3 major components that were there: Muslim Brotherhood desire for power, lower-level Army people who wanted the power which top brass held, and people who were ticked off because of rising bread prices (caused in part by fires in Russia which shut down exports of grain). Those 3 combined were dominant, with the first 2 being dominant ideologically. It wasn't a complete spontaneous anarchy.
    – DVK
    Commented Feb 1, 2012 at 15:00
  • 2
    #Not agree# There was no clear ideology binding the protesters, except that the current situation must be changed. I think before revolution there is nothing proper ideology,but after revolution it would be with proper ideology, If power will goes in the hand of right peoples.
    – RobinHood
    Commented Mar 3, 2012 at 4:44
  • I downvoted because I think there is another answer of @Joseph Weissman well targeted and this answer is inaccurate, close to being wrong: the Russian revolution was also vastly separed between different entities: the "democratic" party first, in spring, and the communist one, in Autumn. And of course the Egyptian revolt was largely handled by different parties such as Muslim Brotherhood Commented Jan 4, 2022 at 18:19

This is a homework-style question and should be tagged as such. That said, comparing the wiki articles for the 2011 Egyptian Revolution and the Russian Revolution, we can come up with a few basic differences.

One key difference is the scale and scope of the results. For instance, Wikipedia notes some of the concessions given in 2011:

  • Ouster of President Mubarak and Prime Ministers Nazif and Shafik;
  • Assumption of power by the Armed Forces;
  • Suspension of the Constitution, dissolution of the Parliament;
  • Disbanding of State Security Investigations Service;
  • Dissolution of the NDP, the former ruling party of Egypt and transfer of its assets to the state
  • Prosecution of Mubarak and his family and his former ministers

Now of course the conditions in Egypt are still fluid, but very simply we can note that the stakes in 1917 were quite different. The current military "guardians" of Egypt are not the Bolsheviks who took over power after crushing the Russian Empire. At any rate, Wikipedia notes some of the major results (my emphasis):

  • Abdication of Nicholas II
  • End of the Russian Empire
  • Bolsheviks' takeover of power [!]
  • Start of the Russian Civil War

So of course there are similarities: both were "people's revolutions", and ended up disrupting the existing power structures; but the revolution of 1917 was of a very different character and driven by a different, more 'cohesive' political agenda -- that is to say, on my reading there is a broad and diverse ideological basis for the Arab Spring, and Egypt exemplifies this complexity.

  • 5
    Well, egyptian's revolution didn't really "disrupt the existing power structure", they are pretty much in the same dictatorship as before...
    – o0'.
    Commented Jan 29, 2012 at 22:58
  • Also, Russia's wasn't "people's revolution". There were fairly few people who actually participated in the revolution proper, with the main "people" - farm workers - not really signing up. Neither was Egypt - very few people compared to overall population were actually "revolting". What made it work was Muslim Brotherhood and support from lower army ranks who weren't getting their fair share of the loot from Old Guard in the military.
    – DVK
    Commented Feb 1, 2012 at 15:08

The main difference is that we know more than 300% of information on the Russian revolution and its consequences. (Everything in 3 or more versions). And we know nothing about the Egyptian revolution and its consequences.

Hmm.. One little problem. In Russia in 1917 there were two revolutions. Absolutely different, nothing in common. Which one are you talking about?

  • I would assume the question is being asked in terms of the October revolution. Hardly anyone is interested in the March revolution, and typically when they are it is in terms of how the March revolution led to the October one and the seizure of power by the Bolsheviks. Commented Apr 8, 2012 at 18:10

The major causes of the Bolshevik revolution can be seen in their two most popular slogans "All power to the Soviets" and "Peace, Bread, and Land". The Russian revolution was in some ways a conclusion of previous revolutions in Russia (1898, 1905, the March 1917 revolution) in that the peasants still did not have control over their land and the industrial minority were still unhappy with the socioeconomic situation in Russia. Added to this growing pressure on the monarchy was Russia's involvement in WWI, a war it was not technologically or militarily prepared for. As a result, the casualties in the tsar's armies were massive and many soldiers were desperate for a peaceful withdraw from the war.

Egypt is different in that it isn't quite confluence of events 1917 Russia was. It isn't facing a major war, the economic conditions are rather different, and the socialist parties are not dominant. As a previous commentator noted, Egypt's opposition is nowhere near as united as the Russian opposition was, indeed an argument can be made that Egypt's opposition isn't even as united as Russia's was during the height of the Bolshevik/Menshevik split. While the Russian opposition was focused on the extent of socialist reform, the Egyptian opposition is fractured on more fundamental motivations, mainly between the Islamists and the more secular element of the revolution.

The split within the Egyptian opposition is actually a common division in Arabic politics for several hundred years. In most Arab countries(Egypt included), western powers have manipulated Arab governments for their personal gains. As a response, some factions believed the best way to combat this was through becoming more like the West to surpass or become on par with those powers, or to turn towards a uniting factor such as pan-Islamic or pan-Arabic sentiment to run out the invaders.

In Egypt, the government under Mubarak ruthlessly suppressed the Islamic movement, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood. As a result, the more religious and traditional elements wanted his government to resign. The modernist factions were similarly outraged by the repressive nature of the regime and also wanted to bring an end to Mubarak. At this point, the major demand of the Egyptian protesters are for a more representative, open, and less repressive government. Unlike the Russian revolution, there is no unified goal towards a broader societal reformation. Also it is quite arguable that the Russian revolution was under far greater pressure as there was the threat of not only the retaliation from the government, but a German invasion and then the threat of an externally organized and funded counter-revolution by the great powers of Europe.


Mubarak was ousted but the corrupt military are still in charge, even more openly than before. The Russian Revolution managed to completely change the state.

  • 2
    Which is a difference in effect, but the question was about the cause.
    – apoorv020
    Commented Jan 29, 2012 at 20:43

In Egypt the revolution were made by whole nation, it was like a Civil War, since in Russian Empire in 1917 there were many political organizations, and there were two revolutions - in February (which was similar to Egypt's - people just went outside, and the abdication of the Nicholas II was performed). After a half-of-year nobody could change situation, and only then the Bolsheviks took the control over the capital, and the Russian Civil war started.


Egypt revolution cannot be seen separately from the events in Libya and Syria.

Revolution of 1917 was a left-wing revolution, the "Arab Spring" is a chain of right-wing revolutions. That is there is a fundamental difference. Revolution of 1917 was made to build socialism, revolutions of the Arab Spring happen to demount the last remaining socialist regimes in the Muslim world. This is accompanied with rise of religious conservatives and other right-wing forces.

In Libya they even employed Monarchist symbols such as the flag (which is widely known as "monarchist flag" in Lybia). The heir of the throne also came to Libya to support the revolution in hope monarchy would be restored.

The mass pogroms of the blacks heavily resemble similar pogroms by the Whites against Jews in Russia during the civil war. Note also that the Whites were supported financially from abroad by the same foreign powers (US, France, Britain) which currently support the Arab Spring. The revolutions are also supported by the monarchies of the Persian gulf, such as Quatar and Saudi Arabia.

This all allows to conclude that what happens in the Arab countries are in fact right-wing counter-revolutions.

  • 4
    This is a scary pile of FUD, lies randomly assembled.
    – o0'.
    Commented Jan 30, 2012 at 18:07
  • 1
    Amen to a pile of FUD, leavened by lack of understanding. Go read my answer of what "right wing" means. Revolutionaries by their nature can't be "right wing" - the original "right wing" are people who want to preserve the status quo. Russian commies today are "Right Wing". And since when Russians needed financial support from abroad to go pogrom them some Jews? And since when are brown skinned Egyptian Arabs "white"?
    – DVK
    Commented Feb 1, 2012 at 15:05
  • Right wing are people who oppose egalitarianism, socialism and pro-socialist revolution. Once such revolution happened they see to make a counter-revolution to restore monarchy and inequality. Usually the right-wing have diverse ideologies spanning from liberals who just want capitalism to monarchists, nationalists and religious radicals, the same was in the case of Libya and Egypt.
    – Anixx
    Commented Feb 1, 2012 at 15:36
  • And where I said the Arabs were "white"? They killed blacks - that is negros. Arabs are not negros nor black people. They made ethic cleansings of blacks in many cities. The majority of blacks supported Gaddafi forces because he gave them equality which was not the case under monarchy.
    – Anixx
    Commented Feb 1, 2012 at 15:39
  • I also never said the foreign powers gave money to the Whites to kill Jews. They just gave money to the Whites without asking and the Whites did whatever they wanted, killing about 250000 Jews in the process. Similarly I do not say that NATO supported the Libyan rebels so that they to kill blacks. They just killed whomever they wanted and the NATO did not ask.
    – Anixx
    Commented Feb 1, 2012 at 15:43

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