Consolidation of Bolshevik Authority and Sovnarkom

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  • Leadership and establishment of Bolshevik Authority
    • The first session of the second "All Russian congress of soviets" which met in the evening of the first day of the revolution, was far from united.
    • Even the Bolsheviks, Zinoviev and Kamanev spoke out against the "coup".
    • Tsereteli, the menshevik leader predicted that Bolshevik Power would last no longer than 3 weeks, whilst the social revolutionaries factions were split
    • Those on the left congratulated Lenin, whilst those on the right accused him of using violence to seize power illegally.
    • Although 500/670 delegates voted in favour of a socialist government, the mensheviks and right wing social revolutionaries were dismayed to find that the majority of seats of the new executive committee to carry this out went to Bolsheviks and more extreme left wing SRs
      • In protest, these "moderates" walked out of congress leaving a Bolshevik and SR coalition in control. Their action simply played into the Bolshevik's hands and Trotsky was able to shout at the retiring delegates the famous words "you're finished, you pitiful bunch of bankrupts. And told them to get into the "dustbin of history"
    • Sovnarkom
      • The Soviet of People's Commissars, known as Sovnarkom, comprised exclusively of Bolsheviks, with Lenin as chairman and Trotsky as Commissar for Foreign Affairs.
        • It also included one female Commissar, Aleksandra Kollontai
        • Despite coming to power with the slogan "All power to the soviets"- Lenin clearly had no intention of sharing power with the Provisional Government and in whose name the Bolsheviks had claimed to act,
    • The word commissar was chosen to distinguish the new officials from the old "bourgeois" ministers, although they fulfilled the same function.
      • Chairman- Lenin
      • Commisar for Agriculture- Vladmir Milyutin
      • Commissar of Nationalities- Joseph Stalin
      • Secretary- Nikolai Gorbunov
    • Consolidation of Bolshevik Authority
      • It took them ten days to persuade the state bank to hand over its reserves and then only under threat of armed intervention.
        • Furthermore, the Bolsheviks had to establish their authority outside the capital and combat the forces of Kerensky who had set up a new headquarters at Gatchna and rallied an army and small force of SRs.
          • Lenin's forces were smaller in number than those of his opponents, and the Bolshevik position appeared weak.


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