Economic and political problems

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  • Created on: 04-06-20 21:35
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  • Economic and Political problems
    • Problems in Agriculture
      • Inflation (which had become an ongoing problem in the war) became worse in 1917.
        • Russia paper money lost half its value in the latter half of 1917.
          • Thus, many peasants refused to accept payment in paper money.
        • This, coupled with huge problems in Russia's transport network led to a significant fall in the amount of bread available in the cities.
          • In October 1917, the government was able to purchase only 56% of the grain it had purchased a year earlier.
      • By mid-1917 the countryside was also expecting a new revolution.
        • Peasants refused to wait for a new government to authorise land reform.
          • Lnadless peasants seized land from landlords.
    • Problems in industry
      • Life in the cities deteriorated dramatically during 1917.
        • Between Jan-June, the production of fuel fell by more than 1/3.
        • Factory production dropped by 36%.
      • In reponse to the deterioriating conditions workers launched strikes.
        • From Feb-October 2.5 million workers went on strike.
        • From July, workers went further by democratising their fractories.
          • Workers elected factory committees that took control of production and wages.
          • In responce,  large factories and mines in the Urals and the Donbass closed their operations, locking workers out.
            • As a result production fell further.
    • The formation of Kerensky's government took place in a time of deepening economic crisis.
      • Rather than leading to more efficient economic organisation, as the Kadets had hoped, the revolution had led to a breakdown of the existing system.
    • The Kornilov Affair
      • Kerensky appointed General Lavr Kornilov to take control of the Russian Army.
        • Kornilov had no sympathy for revolutionaries and was keen to assert the government's authority over the Soviet's, trade unions and unruly peasants.
          • Kerensky hoped that Kornilov;s hardline apporach would help restore order.
      • Kornilov took the position of commander-in-cheif, but demanded the government implement harsh, repressive policies:
        • Strikes were banned for the duration of the war.
          • Striking workers could be punishable by death.
        • Railway workers were placed under military control.
        • Desertion from the army was punishable by death.
      • The Kornilov Revolt
        • Kornilov apparently demanded to place Petrograd under military control.
          • Kerensky refused, knowing that the workers of Petrograd would resist.
            • As a result, Kerensky dismissed Kornilov as commander-in-cheif.
              • Kornilov responded by ordering a detachment of troops to march on Petrograd.
                • Kerensky assumed that Kornilov was attempting a military takeover,
      • Arming the Bolsheviks
        • Kerensky was forced to ask the Petrograd Soviet to defend the capital.
          • He agreed to arm the Red Guards (a bolshevik-dominated militia).
            • This decision strengthened the Bolsheviks,  and by the end of August the Bolsheviks had a third of the seats in the Soviet.
              • Additionally, Kerensky agreed to release Bolsheviks from prison so that they could defend the captial. which also strengthened the Bolsheviks.
      • Kornilov defeated
        • The Bolsheviks played a key role in defeating Kornilov's forces:
          • Trotsky ordered railway unions to prevent the train carrying Kornilov's troops from enyering the city.
          • Bolsheviks infiltraited Kornilov's troops and persuaded many to abandon the attack.
      • Consequences of the revolt
        • The Kornilov Affair seriously weakened the PG:
          • The vast majoirty of Russian workers lost faith in the PG.
          • Discipline within the Russian armed forces deteriorated further.
        • Support for the Bolsheviks grew.
          • They were credited with saving the revolution (eg pursuaded many of Kornilov's troops to abandon the attack).
          • By September the Bolsheviks had won majorities in the Moscow and Petrograd Soviets.


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