During the 1800s and early 1900s Russia was wracked with turmoil as the country was dragged into the modern world. Conflicts grew between the countries huge number of poor and wretched peasants and its hugely wealthy landowners. As cities grew these conflicts also expanded to include industrial workers against factory owners.
During these times Russia was also often at war. In 1812 the country was invaded by Napoleon creating the inspiration of the novel War and Peace. Following Russia’s victory in this war the powers of the Tsars, Russia’s rulers, greatly increased along with calls for reform to give people more freedom.
Writers like Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Chekhov, Gogol wrote great works of literature about this environment often using their words to lend their support to reforms.