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For centuries, ordinary Russians lived under the absolute power of the czars, the country's hereditary rulers. For many, such a life involved few rights and grinding poverty. The Russian people increasingly wanted a greater voice in the way they were governed and a higher standard of living. These desires put pressure on the government of the czars. The civil unrest finally came to a head in 1917. The last czar, Nicholas II, was overthrown in what history calls the Russian Revolution. But the government still wasn't stable. Russians realized they had no more freedom under the new communist government than they had had under the czars. Find out about the events that led up to the Russian Revolution, one of the landmark events of the twentieth century, and the decades of conflict that followed.