post-revolution Russia (until end of 1917)

All-Russian Congress of Soviets

25th October - evening of the first fay of revolution.

Very ununited in it's revolution:

  • (Bolsheviks) Zinoviev and Kamenev spoke out against the 'coup'.
  • (Menshivik leader) Tsereteli predicted that Bolshevik power would last no longer than 3 weeks whilst SR faction was split between pro (left) and anti-Bolshevism (right).
  • Left SRs congratulated Lenin.
  • Right SRs (supporters of Kerensky) accused him of using violence to seize power illegally.
  • 500/670 voted in favour of a socialist government but Lenin used the Sovnarkom to initiate these votes which was made up of Bolsheviks and extreme Left SRs.Menshiviks and Right SRs therefore walked out of Congress in protest, but his was just the first step for establishing control.Trotsky shouted "You're finished, you pitiful bunch of bankrupts. Get out of here to where you belong-in the dustbin of History."

LACK OF MENSHIVIKS AND RIGHT SRs LEFT A COALITION BETWEEN BOLSHEVIKS AND LEFT SRs IN FULL CONTROL.

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Sovnarkom

Soviet of People's Commissars; 'commisar' was used to distinguish the new officials from the old bourgeois 'minister'.

Only Bolshevik membership e.g. Lenin-chairman, Trotsky-Commisar for Foreign Affairs, Aleksandra Kollontai-1 female commisar.

Ran the country.

Facade of "all power to the soviets," was obviously not true:

  • happy when right SRs and Menshiviks left.
  • no left SRs in Sovnarkom.
  • sidelined Petrograd Soviet sidelined through this Sovnarkom.

Helped undermine power of Petrograd Soviet (despite them being the face of revolution):

  • ruled by decree so were appreciated directly for them.
  • didn't seek Soviet's approval for decrees or peace talks initiated sith Germans.
  • met once or twice a day whilst the Soviet met increasingly less frequently.
  • soviets continued to meet until 1930s and retained importance locally, but they were now part of a new Bolshevik-dominated power structure.

SOVNARKOM UNDERMINED POWER OF SOVIET.

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Initial Problems for Bolsheviks

  • Civil servants refused to serve.
  • Bankers refused to provide finance.- took 10 days and armed intervantion to persuade the State Bank to hand over it's reserves.
  • Had to attempt to establish authority outside the centre..
  • Kerensky had set up a new headquarters at Gatchina, and rallied an army with 18 Cossack regiments and a small force of SR cadets and officers.
  • Lenin's forces were smaller than his opponents - becausesoldiers from Petrograd garrison returned to their countryside homes right after the revolution, and he had no conatct with troops at the front.
  • Pressure to fulfill promises of "peace, bread and land".
  • Bolshevik party was still a minority.
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Efforts to establish authority

OCTOBER 29th 

  • Red guards defeat army cadet rising against Bolsheviks in Petrograd.
  • 'Executive Committee of Railwaymen made of SRs, Menshiviks and Bolsheviks demanded a 'united socialist government' and refused to transport food as protest. Lenin simply ignored the demand and it died down.                        

OCTOBER 30th 

  • Bolsheviks take control in Baku and 17 provincial capitals.

NOVEMBER 2nd 

  • Kerensky defeated.
  • 'Decleration of Rights of the Peoples of Russia' - permitted the nationalities of Russia to break away and have full independance if they want e.g. Ukraine and Finland.

NOVEMBER 3rd

  • Kremlin in Moscow taken at the end of a 10 day battle for Moscow.
  • Lenin issued ultimatum to end division within Bolshevik party in which people who were unhappy were given the choice to accept it or leave e.g. Kamenev, Zinoviev and Rykov left amongst others. Sverdlov was elected Chairman of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee to replace Kamenev.

NOVEMBER 5th

  • Lenin proclaimed that a victorious revolution and motivated that everyone should unite or wont be helped. He stressed that the "Your soviets," were the "leglislative bodies with full power".
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Decrees OCT/NOV/DEC

'Utopian phase' of Bolshevism with lots of optimism.

Lenin needed to fulfill promises and was determined to introduce a new social order.

OCTOBER 

  • Workers' decree- max 8 hour work day.
  • Social insurance decree- benefits for old, ill and unemployed.
  • Press Decree- banned opposition press.
  • Decree on Peace- end to war 'without annexation and indemnities'.An armistice happened in Novemebr and a demobilisation in December. state capitalism 
  • Decree on Land- abolished private ownership of land and legitimised peasant seizures without compensation to landlords. This was where Lenin allowed what was already happening and gave Bolsheviks more peasant support than SRs. state capitalism

NOVEMBER 

  • Rights of the people of Russia decree- abolished titles and class ranks.
  • Nationality decree- promised self-determination to people of former Russian Empire e.g. Finland became independant state in December and elected rada/parliament was set up in Ukraine.
  • Decree on Workers' Control of Factories- workers have right to 'supervise management'. state capitalism 
  • Judicial Decree- new legal system of elected people's courts established.
  • Decree to outlaw sex discrimination- women given right to property and equality with men.

DECEMBER 

  • Decree to establish the 'All-Russian Comission for the Suppression of Counter-Revolution, Sabotage and Speculation- Cheka set up to root out opposition.
  • Bank decree- nationalised banks and ended private flow of capital.
  • Military decree- removed class ranks and saluting. Army was placed under the control of soldiers' soviets who would elect officers.
  • Decrees on the Church- nationalised Church land, removed marriage/divorce from Church and gave women right to initiate divorce.
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Introduction to State Capitalism

Most Bolshevists were motivated by a strong desire to create a new-style state (economically).

BUT

Lenin spoke about the danger of moving towards socialism too quickly - Russia's economy was simply not ready.

State Capitalism was therefore the 1st step in the long transition to socialism. This was a mix between capitalism and socialist economy; degree of state control over economy + private markets would remain as a crucial part of economy.

Veshenka (Council of National Economy) established to supervise and control economic development.

A lot of party division caused by many members who wanted complete nationalisation of industry and a socialist economy right away.

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Steps to combat opposition and enforce 'dictatorsh

  • PROPOGANDA campaign against political and 'class' enemies e.g. Bourgeois.
  • Everyone had to be addressed as 'citizen' or 'Grazhdanin' and party members as 'comrade' or 'Tovarishch.
  • Anti-Bolshevik newspapers shut down.
  • Purge of civil service.
  • Cheka established.
  • Imprisonment of leading Kadets, right SRs and Mensheviks.

Lenin emphasised that these were to transform society not just intimidate opposition.

Lenin was convinced that 'dictatorship of Proletariat' required active repression of 'counter revolutionary' enemies.

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Bolshevism= power hungry

SOCIALLY By end of 1917, major towns and railways were cominated by Bolsheviks.(Countryside and areas outside centre would be out of their control still and would be until after the civil war- limited military power.)

POLITICALLY Lenin was determined to avoid a socialist coalition government despite the petitions from factory workers, demands for broad socialist government from soldiers and strikes from railwaymen, which all pointed towards a democratic government. Even members of his party favoured it. BUT he feared other socialist leader challengers and had a different vision.

In November, Lenin hesitiantly allowed 7 left SRs to join Sovnarkom after protests about purely Bolshevik state. BUT apart from this, he was certain that no more 'power-sharing' would occur. He also made it clear to delegates that they had to follow Bolshevik lead.

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Bolshevism= power hungry

SOCIALLY By end of 1917, major towns and railways were cominated by Bolsheviks.(Countryside and areas outside centre would be out of their control still and would be until after the civil war- limited military power.)

POLITICALLY Lenin was determined to avoid a socialist coalition government despite the petitions from factory workers, demands for broad socialist government from soldiers and strikes from railwaymen, which all pointed towards a democratic government. Even members of his party favoured it. BUT he feared other socialist leader challengers and had a different vision.

In November, Lenin hesitiantly allowed 7 left SRs to join Sovnarkom after protests about purely Bolshevik state. BUT apart from this, he was certain that no more 'power-sharing' would occur. He also made it clear to delegates that they had to follow Bolshevik lead.

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