How did the Bolsheviks move to consolodate their power.

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  • How did the Bolsheviks move to consolidate their power?
    • The Sovnarkom.
      • Bolsheviks seized power in the name of the Soviets
        • No intention of letting them rule alongside them.
      • It took the new government 10 days and the use of armed forces to get bank vaults open.
      • Many soviets in the factories and the army under Menshevik control.
      • Lenin recognised the new government had to give the people what they wanted to survive.
        • LAND DECREE
    • The War
      • Initially issued a decree on PEACE. This caused for all nations to cease the fighting.
        • Lenin believed that communist revolutions would break out all over Europe that would ensure fair peace.
        • The decree was ignored by both Germans and allies.
      • Lenin believed he needed peace at any price to ensure the survival of the regime.
        • There was no army to fight the Germans and when they advanced into Ukraine, Lenin was seriously concerned for the safety of Petrograd.
          • Lenin had few supporters in the Bolsheviks in Jan 1917. Stalin was a key ally who argued "There is no other way out: either we obtain a breathing space or else it's the death of the revolution.
      • As the army disintegrated Lenin tried to convince the new government to sign a separate peace with the Germans.
        • Most were opposed to any concession with the Germans believing it would be a "Stanion the banner of Bolshevism" and undermine the revolution abroad.
      • Trotsky was the Bolshevik negotiator and tried to keep the war going as long as possible.
        • He hoped a revolution would break out in Germany and Austria.
          • He wanted out of talks in late Jan 1917. In response the Germans advanced 150 miles in 5 days (further than the entire previous 3 years.)
            • Peace terms are accepted after Lenin threatens to resign. Trotsky resigns as Commisar for foreign Affairs.
    • Dealing with political opposition.
      • The Bolsheviks tried to remain popular so had to crush any opposition.
      • They immediately closed down the newspapers of all other political parties.
      • In Dec 1917, Lenin set up the CHEKA- main instrument of terror in communist Russia.
        • CHEKA'S reputation of attacking political opponents was extraordinary.
          • The unleashing of 'Red terror' in 1918 led to the death and imprisonment of thousands of Bolshevik opponents.
      • Government set up semi-independent governments in Belarus, Ukraine and Georgia.
      • Striking civil servants who were viewed as causing the new government problems were sacked and arrested.
        • The civil service was purged and junior members willing to support the Bolsheviks were promoted.
    • The Constituent assembly.
      • elections to the new assembly took place in early Nov. Bolsheviks not in a position to stop them happening across the country
      • When the results were known in Jan, it became apparent that the Bolsheviks had not won a majority
        • The Socialist Revolutionaries had twice the number of votes. Lenin argued the Soviet represented a higher form of democracy.
      • Bolsheviks allowed the assembly to meet once in Jan
        • deputies told to go home and the doors closed. People demonstrated outside and soldiers loyal to Lenin and the Bolsheviks opened fire on them


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