post-revolution Russia (1918-24)



Bolsheviks came to power claiming they were acting in the 'interests of proletariat', encouragin people that it was a popular revolution in which they acco plished teh "vast and simple desires of teh most profound strata of people,"-John Reed.

Western democracy was alien to Lenin and Bolshevism as the idea of trying to compete for votes, several opposing groups and policy brought about in debate, was seen as one for the old class-ridden world.

'Dictatorship of proletariat' was the first step to true socialism and was Lenin's approach, supported by the repressive 'counter-revolutionary' elements.He was also supported by Marxist ideologyand  in his 1917 pre-revolution book 'State and Revolution' wrote that revolutionary morals were a justification for strict action.




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Bolshevik View of Election (-Removal of CA)

·         Lenin had never cared about the amount of support for Bolsheviks - originally wanted a close net professional group.

·         Didn't believe in democracy- only way to govern is to crush all opposition, not compromise.

·         Saw elections as propganda for Bourgoise to keep power and corrupt lower-class votes.

·         His only aim was to build party capable of seizing power when oppurtunity arised.

·         Wanted all-state communism with 'democratic centralism' deserved by Bolsheviks as they were the true intelligents about revolution.  revolution was the way in which 'proletariat' expressed what they wanted without knowing it which made a vote worthless; soviet had had their chance at ruling and failed so now it was Bolshevik's turn.

·         Trotsky admired Lenin for his revolutionary beliefs and 'sharpshooters' to always back up his theory.

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November 1917 Election (-Removal of CA)

·         Revolution was too late, so the 'All-Russian Constituent Assembly elections would still occur.

·         41 million votes were casted and it was an uncorrupted vote.

·         Resulted, unsurprisingly with SRs winning double votes, Bolsheviks with 24% and 1/4 of assembly seats.

·         Legally, SRs could have taken over, but Lenin simply ignored the elections as the revolution was the way in which 'proletariat' expressed what they wanted without knowing it,(hadn't been able to articulate themselves), which made a vote worthless; soviet had had their chance at ruling and failed so now it was Bolshevik's turn.

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Historical Relevance (-Removal of CA)

·          In Kerensky’s Provisional Government had received attacks from Lenin for postponing elections for Constituent Assembly mainly as a way to weaken his then-opponent. This tactic was no longer needed to weaken PG because they weren't existent, and a Constituent Assembly would just been little Bolshevik power in assembly.

·         PG hadn't wanted to do an election because they believed in legitimacy and the conditions/technology/corruption was not ready for a legitimate vote. Bolsheviks believed winning revolution was legitimate enough for them.

·         All-Russian representative body has already occurred (Soviets) and they had clearly failed evident of revolution.

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Dissolution of Constituent Assembly (-Removal of C

Gathered in January 1918. 

Kadets had already been outlawed for expressing approval of Alexei Kaledin (Cossack general who had begun a counter-revolutionary rebellion in the Don region.

Bolsheviks were overruled in request of left SR Maria Spiridovna chairing the meeting, and instead the right SRs chose Viktor Chernov (SR leader).

After 1 day’s session (of unsettled audiences and 'shill, provocative and rude' Bolshevik speeches), Red Guards dissolved it at gunpoint. Some civilians retaliated and 12 were shot and killed.


·         No fulfilments of liberals/reformers e.g. no election, assembly or democracy for the next 70 years.

·         Shortly after dissolution, other parties were outlawed for full 1-party state.

·         Contradicts 'power to the people' BUT Lenin confident as stated in his 'State and Revolution', a strong party and crushing of Bourgeoise (employers/priests/'middle class') corruption was necessary for 'dictatorship of the proletariat’. He said that the dissolution of the CA = "complete and open repudiation (rejection) of democracy in favour of dictatorship".

Dissolution of CA also represents how 'dictatorship or proletariat', higher form of 'democracy' and 'power to the people' meant a 1-party state.

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