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Detailed Essay Plan: How far was the Provisional Government responsible for
its own downfall?
4 key factors:
o Responsible for its own downfall
o Kornilov Affair
o Return of Lenin
1. Responsible for its own downfall
o Unelected, self-appointed therefore no right to exercise authority.
o Seen as a stop-gap until an all-Russian Constituent Assembly was formed
after the autumn election.
o Dual Authority needed permission from Petrograd Soviet to pass a decree.
o Dominated by the upper class therefore not representative.
o No choice but to continue fighting war reliant on supplies and war credits
from western allies (tsardom had left Russia virtually bankrupt).
o Preoccupation with war prevented the government from dealing with Russia's
social and economic problems.
o 14 March Soviet issued "address to the people of the whole world" calling
for peace. Government declared that it accepted this address, but this was a
lie since Milyukov had pledged that Russia would fight on until Germany was
3. Kornilov Affair
o Kornilov sent troops towards the city, so Kerensky armed the opposition.
o Troops were stopped before they arrived and persuaded not to fight.
o Benefited the Bolsheviks as they were armed and distracted attention away
from their failure in the July Days.
o Revealed how politically weak the Provisional Government was, as well as
vulnerable to military threat.
4. Return of Lenin
o Returned to Petrograd on 3 April.
o On the following day, he issued his April Theses, spelling out future Bolshevik
o Insisted that the Bolsheviks must abandon all co-operation with other parties
and overthrow the PG.
o His argument was summed up in two slogans: "Peace, Bread and Land" and
"All Power to the Soviets".
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The former highlighted the PG's failure to deal with the 3 principal issues he
had identified in Russia at the time the war, food shortages, and disruption
in the countryside.…read more