Further notes on the Consolidation of the Bolshevik State

Some further notes on how Lenin consolidated his power.

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  • Created on: 27-04-13 16:29
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Class warfare
Lenin liked the use of class warfare: stirring up the peasants to fight against `the
enemy', whoever it was.
The Kadets were the first to fall to the terrorism they were Bourgeois or burzhui in
thinking and were seen as anti revolutionary. They were declared to be the `the
enemy of the people', `parasites' and `bloodsuckers'. There homes were looted.
Burzhui were anyone who was an enemy to the state: the middle classes, Jews,
officers, landowners, priests and other well to do people. Grain hoarders also
became burzhui. The peasants wanted someone to blame for their problems and the
Burzhui seemed the perfect group.
Comrade became the form of address for everyone and brought power and
confidence to the workers and soldiers.
The Civil servants who had been striking were arrested and the Civil Service itself
was purged.
A poor but obedient bureaucracy emerged when power was given to the under
Opposition existed but was not united and was of little threat. Mensheviks and Right
SR's did not like violence after the Civil War. They also thought the Constituent
Assembly would be successful and that the Bolsheviks would not stay in power
Treaty of Brest Litovsk
The Russian army at the front was crumbling, this was both good and bad for Lenin
and his government:
They had no way to stop the Germans
But the Russian Generals couldn't stop Lenin
With high demands from the Germans Trotsky pulled out saying that the sides would
no longer fight but they would not sign a formal treaty.
Lenin needed peace at any cost he needed to save his revolution.
He was also worried that the Germans would throw his government out.
So it was with great regret that the treaty was signed. Trotsky didn't attend the final
Romania gained the Bessarabia region.
Estonia Latvia and Lithuania became independent republics.
27% of farm land (the best in Russia) was lost.
26% of railways were lost.
74% of iron ore and coal reserves were lost.
Splits were created in the Bolshevik party by those like Bukharin who wanted
revolutionary war.
Most were ashamed of the Treaty some were angry and joined rival parties like the
The Left SR's left Sovnarkom over the issue.
Civil War became inevitable.
Constituent Assembly
Lenin was worried at the sort of power a constituent assembly could have. It could
easily claim to be the government in Russia and push the Bolsheviks out.
Lenin therefore denounced the assembly as being of the Bourgeois persuasion. His
government was better than that he even called it a higher level of democracy.

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A demonstration outside in favour of the government was quickly ended by the
Sovnarkom soldiers who fired on them in a similar way to February 1917.
The British, with Churchill behind them were the most active interventionist group.
£100 million worth of supplies were given to White forces. Stopping the spread of
Bolshevism was the aim of the British.
However support in Britain was not solid. LloydGeorge, Prime minister, knew the
troops were weary and was worried that they might disaffect.…read more

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Grain requisitioning ­ Red guards searched for grain to feed the cities, they forcibly
took grain from peasants, who remained angry. The FoodSupplies Dictatorship
enforced this move.
Banning of private trade Only state trading was permitted it was a nightmare and
very chaotic. Industry didn't produce enough goods and the Black Market
Nationalisation of Industry All industry was state owned and looked after by
Vesenka. Workers committees were replaced with single managers who were
sometimes old burzhui managers working as specialists.…read more

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Bribery and corruption was rife in the Bolshevik party: many of them had lots of
food whilst others were left to starve.
It's fair to say however that many burzhui or middle classes had already left for
western Europe, Australia or the USA and with them went much of Russia's talent.
Trotsky and the Red Army
Trotsky as Commissar for war made a huge difference in the army turning it into and
effective fighting machine for the Red's.…read more


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