Russian Rulers: Lenin 1917-24

HideShow resource information

Establishing the Dictatorship

October 1917 2nd Congress of Soviets gave Bolsheviks their backing > Bolsheviks formed their government > SOVNARKOM (Soviet of Peoples' Commissars.) - Bolsheviks took power in Petrograd - politically significant, but didn't necessarily mean much in terms of greater Russia - SRs more popular with peasants...

Immediate Armistice: Planned long negotiations with Germany (in the hope that they would, in the meantime, lose the War.) General Dukhovin disagreed > his troops shot him, an example of the national desire for Peace.

April 1918 introduced the Cheka (secret police,) rounded up possible opposition (left SRs - Anarchists) & killed 50,000 people April-July. 

1918, 120 Cheka operatives. 1921, 150,000 Cheka operatives.

1 of 10

Constituent Assembly

November 1917 Elections

  • Supposedly democratic and fair..
  • SRs 40% of vote.
  • Bolsheviks 23% of vote.
  • Nationalist groups 7.7% of vote - there were still some nationalists.

15th January 1918 Constituent Assembly met, led by SR Chernov, but Lenin closed it immediately, claiming democracy is 'bourgeois.' > An example of Lenin skipping a few of Marx's steps.

Lenin passed decrees: Peace (to be maintained), Land (to be shared), Housing (to be redistributed to the poor - in cities), Marriage & Divorce (to be made easier), Church (to be kept out of education), Protection of Mother & Child, Nationalities (to have self determination.)

Some industries nationalised, not all - Lenin though Russia wasn't quite ready for a full Communist economy.

Russia became Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR) - new constitution under Lenin's instruction.

2 of 10

Decree on Party Unity

10th Party Congress, March 1921

1. Banned all other political parties.

2. Banned party factions.

Used by Stalin to purge those who disagreed with him.

3 of 10

Retreat from Power

1922 stroke, followed by another 2 > withdrew from public life.

Power vacuum on death in 1924 as he left no clear successor.

Had become a cult figure > The times in 1923 said 'people obeyed him out of pleasure, not fear.' Does this suggest that the end justified his means?

4 of 10

Economy: 1. State Capitalism 1917-18

Bolsheviks nationalised a few indusries, but believed Russia wasn't ready for a new communist market > thought that the rest of Europe would soon become communist anyway, so economic reforms could be done together.

VESENKYA: The Supreme Council of National Economy. Nationalised large industry: Railways, Banks, larger factories & Ships. (REMEMBER: RBS - like the bank.)

But people weren't happy that the workers had seized control of some factories, so Lenin issued decrees to ban this in January & April of 1918.

State Capitalism failed to produce the goods needed, partly because of the Civil War, so there was much starvation > in the cities, the average person had 50g of bread per day > led to a mass exodus from cities to the countryside.

5 of 10

Economy: 2. War Communism

June 1918 ALL industry nationalised. All produce was aimed at war effort.

Factors: Allied blockade on Russia > no goods were coming in > industrial production collapsed > 1921 production only 31% of 1913 production (REMEMBER 13 reversed.) A Marxist idea.

Events: Party officials put in charge of factories (not Soviets). Grain Requisitioning, requisition squads too forceful & took seed as well as grain > peasants couldn't grow more. Peasants weren't incentivised to farm,  disliked Bolsheviks anyway (tended to be conservative or SRs) > destroyed crops rather than have them taken > worsened by drought of 1921 - famine, cannibalism, spread of typhoid & cholera. Peasant risings 1920-22 'The Greens,' inflation ran at 1,000,000% - workers paid in goods rather than money. 

Replaced 1921.

6 of 10

Economy: 3. The New Economic Policy 1921

Introduced at the 10th Party Congress March 1921. 

Lenin called it 'a strategic retreat' > went away from communist principles, needed to first build a 'smychka' (alliance) with the peasants.

No grain requisitioning > peasants paid a 10% tax in kind of any surplus. 

New Rubel - buying and selling became easier.

Grain Market: peasants could sell grain as small business legalised > not all state controlled - but Lenin remained in control of the 'commanding heights' of the economy.

Peasants were happy > armed resistance ended. Workers returned to cities.

Better harvests 1922-23.

Conclusion: A roaring success, but a definite retreat from Marxist ideas.

Lenin: 'Let the peasants have their little bit of capitalism, as long as we keep power.'

7 of 10

Ending WW1

Lenin had gained support through slogan, 'Bread, land and peace' promised to all - Provisional govt. unpopular because Karensky had continued the war. 

Decree on Peace November 1917, a peace 'without annexations and indemnities.' - Germans weren't happy with that.

2nd December, Armistice signed - Soviets wanted to end the war at any cost > Germans gave harsh terms > Sovnarkom said no > tried to drag out negotiations in the hope that Germany would lose the War in the meantime but February 1918, Germans strated fighting again > bombed Petrograd, so capital moved to Moscow.

Treaty of Brest-Ltovsk March 1918. Russia lost 1/3 of it's territory, including the Ukraine (Russia's 'bread basket.') SRs voiced their anger and were silenced by the Cheka > Lenin was happy to use Cheka when his authority was undermined.

8 of 10

The Civil War 1917-22: Causes/Groups

Causes

  • The Whites - had allied support > France sent 7million Francs to Cossacks, united only against Reds so much disagreement.
    • Nationalists unhappy with Treaty of Brest-Ltovsk & Decree on Nationalities > by June 1918 there were 33 sovereign govts, including Ukraine, Finland, Estonia & Latvia. Denikin called for 'Russia, one & indivisible.'
    • Disaffected leftists - SRs & Mensheviks.
    • Ex-Tsarists.
  • The Greens
    • Comprised of peasants, SRs & anarchists.
    • Tension in the countryside.


9 of 10

The Civil War 1917-22: Causes/Groups

Causes

  • The Whites - had allied support > France sent 7million Francs to Cossacks, united only against Reds so much disagreement.
    • Nationalists unhappy with Treaty of Brest-Ltovsk & Decree on Nationalities > by June 1918 there were 33 sovereign govts, including Ukraine, Finland, Estonia & Latvia. Denikin called for 'Russia, one & indivisible.'
    • Disaffected leftists - SRs & Mensheviks.
    • Ex-Tsarists.
  • The Greens
    • Comprised of peasants, SRs & anarchists.
    • Tension in the countryside.


10 of 10

Comments

No comments have yet been made

Similar History resources:

See all History resources »See all Russia - 19th and 20th century resources »