Lead:  After nearly four years of fighting Russia desperately needed peace - at any price.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: By March, 1918, years of warfare had finally taken their toll on the Russian people. The war had gone badly, with German forces racking up one victory after another. There were two million Russian casualties in 1915 alone. Czar Nicholas II had proven to be a profoundly incompetent war leader, so anxious to maintain supreme royal power that he ignored the Duma, the elected legislature. In 1916, no longer willing to listen to the Duma's criticism, he adjourned it and went to the front. His wife, Czarina Alexandra, tried to rule in his absence, but she was equally incompetent and brought scandal to the government by her emotional dependence on the mystic priest Rasputin. His murder by three discontented aristocrats did little to improve the morale of the country and in March, 1917 severe food shortages brought an abrupt end to the famed Russian tolerance of misfortune. The nation snapped. Food riots led to revolution. When the soldiers sent to quell the riots joined in, the Duma declared a provisional government and three days later the Czar abdicated.

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