The death of four empires
It is said that the First World War destroyed four empires. And it is, of course, so, and you cannot argue with that ... Here are just three other empires: Austro-Hungarian, German and Ottoman - constituted the backbone of the "central states". And it was they who lost the war, after which they collapsed.
Russia, oddly enough, was on the side of the winners, and in February 1917 it was already quite obvious, but this did not save it from disaster and disintegration ... There, Winston Churchill also strongly lamented about this, that, they say, Russia was like a ship, which has almost entered the port, and you have such a "bad luck". How frank was he at the same time? Another question.
The excellent point of view that the bourgeois (imperialist!) War and defeat in it are a good opening chord to the symphony of the social revolution, which should be sincerely welcomed, I don't even want to consider. It's somehow too brutal and uninteresting.
But the fact remains: the First World War became the very "super-crisis" from which the Russian Empire was never able to get out.
Yes, there was a revolution in Germany too. V defeated Germany. Already after actual defeat. As a reaction to this very defeat.
The Austro-Hungarian Empire collapsed. As a result of and after defeat. Like the Ottoman Empire, which is quite logical.
But Russia was on the side of the winners, but according to the results it also "went into a deep dive" from which it could not get out.
But even for the "victorious" France and Britain (also, by the way, empires - British and French), the situation at the end of 1918 did not look too rosy: the countries suffered very large losses: both economic and demographic. For France (on the territory of which basically the same "Western Front" was held and where the main part of the battles took place) the situation was generally very sad. A significant part of the state was destroyed.
The proud British Empire, although it did not fight major battles in the metropolis, found itself in the position of a country that was not able to normally pay off the financial obligations assumed during the war. They looked like winners very, very weakly.
After the First World War, Europe as a whole did not at all resemble a "blooming garden", and although the destruction was generally less than after the Second World War, the political, economic and social situation there was very difficult.
Post-war Europe is a Europe in crisis. Europe, which for a very long time came to its senses, but could not do it so completely.
In principle, even Russia's military victory in the First World War and subsequent participation in the Versailles Peace Conference did not solve all of its problems. Of course, this would allow avoiding the most brutal events, however ...
Even in the event of a victory over the Kaiser and the Austrian emperor, we would have a backward, poor country with numerous social and political vestiges, an unresolved land issue, an incomprehensible political system (autocracy does not work here at all). And millions of victorious peasants who came from the "German" war, who would immediately face the patriarchal order.
And what would come of it?
It is very difficult to say, but here is an example of the same (not at war in the First World War) Spain for optimism somehow does not really dispose. Rather, it does not dispose at all.
Spain not only did not suffer losses in the First World War, but even managed to cash in on it a little (it is profitable to sell raw materials and resources with food when everyone is at war!), But then everything went awry - and until the civil war of 1936-1939. And there was chaos, social action and repression. There were a lot of things, including General Franco. The Caudillo of Spain by God's grace ...
In a relatively backward, semi-agricultural Italy, Mussolini came to power (and stood next to the king!) ... In a very backward Portugal, Salazar came to Olympus ...
The recipe for that revolution
That is predictHow exactly the events would develop on our territory after the victory of Russia in the First World War is very, very difficult (this is not a fantasy for you to write).
But the fact remains: tough social contradictions, archaism of the state system, economic (technical) backwardness and military debts would not have gone anywhere. And millions of veterans of the Great War would return from the front, who would hardly fit into the archaic Mother Russia of the 1914 model.
"Whispers" might not have happened. And this is all against the backdrop of chaos in Central Europe. And the growth of fascist parties in Southern Europe ...
In general, the Russian Empire looked very archaic even before the First World War (against the background of the leading powers).
How would she look right after her?
I even find it difficult to say. Somehow I am tormented by vague doubts about the splendor of the all-conquering empire of the Romanovs. You see, the world was rapidly moving forward, and Nikolai Alexandrovich, with his political views on modernity in 1920, at the head of a kind of great power, would have looked completely ridiculous.
Oddly enough, but the First World War greatly accelerated the pace stories, knocking out the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empires as unviable in difficult conditions. They left, that's it.
How would tsarist Russia “rapidly develop” in the 20s and 30s?
It's hard to even imagine. On the one hand, yes, there would be no defeat of the empire and the hardest consequences of the Civil War, and this is a huge plus.
On the other hand, the state system of a great power, not similar to the French or German, but very similar to the Romanian-Spanish version (archaic monarchy + large landowners-nobles and impoverished idleness in the fields) is somehow very absurd in the era of scientific industrial revolution?
That is, we can safely say that after the victory over Kaiser's Germany and Habsburg Austria-Hungary, the problems of the Russian Empire could really be above the roof. And the development model was "ilitarian", that is, de facto, very, very clunky, somewhat reminiscent of modern India and very different from the current "totalitarian" China, which has ended poverty.
And there were simply no reasons for a fundamental change in the model of society in the then paradigm of the Russian Empire. After the victory in 1918 (1917?) And the victorious march through Berlin to the imperial throne, there would be a line for awards, ranks and cash (land) distributions. And it would not have consisted of peasants from the plow.
Well, those that "from the plow" would not have offered anything material or political. "Go to work" - that's the whole conversation. And those are lively guys, accustomed to a bayonet attack, baptized by fire, peppery with shrapnel ...
What would come of it all?
God alone knows.
That is, the recipe for revolution (civil war) in victorious Russia after The First World War is very simple: at the front, the peasantry felt that they were "unbelievable", and the elite began to have serious problems ...
Could the crowned bearer Romanov be able to cope with this situation? It is very difficult to say.