1917: Russian emigres at the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Paris after the revolution. By 1917, Russia was war-weary. Military disasters such as the Battle of Tannenberg, with its 250,000 losses, had wiped out the Russian Second Army. Besides mutiny and desertion in the military, severe food shortages at home led to strikes in the factories and rioting on the streets of St Petersburg. This was the spark for the February Revolution; Tsar Nicholas II abdicated in the aftermath.