The Provisional Government
- Prov. Gov. would provide some leadership following the abdication of the Tsar
- Anounced freedom of speech, realeased political prisoners, declared a free press and abolished the dealth penalty
However they ran into problems very fast:
1) Soviets wanted to share power and without the support of the workers, the prov gov could do little
2) They were also under pressure from Britain and France to continue in the war, but the soviets didnt want to, so they settled with a defensive war. This led to the continuation of the economic problems they faced.
3) Peasants were desperate for a greater share of land. This led to rural disturbances increasing and there was a general break down in law and order in the countryside.
4) Workers wanted to stay in charge of the factories, and they forced the prov. gov. to give them 8 hrs a day of work. Prov. Gov. looked towards bosses to restore discipline, this led to fierce clashes between workers and managers.
5) Soldiers' committees were set up in many Army units. Soldiers launched an offensive in June, breaking the agreement with the Soviets. After the offensive failed there was a rapid breakdown of discipline, and by august 1917 over 1/4 mill. of soldiers had deserted.
The Return of Lenin
- Lenin returned and found a revolutionary atmosphere.
- The Bolsheviks were drifting along with the rest of the other socialist groups.
- Lenin immediately laid out main plans called the April Theses:
- An immediate end to war
- No co-operation with the Prov. Gov.
- All power to the Soviets
Bolsheviks successes, July - September 1917
- As Prov. Gov.'s problems worsened, Bolsheviks ideas became more and more appealing to the Russian people
- A series of events bore witness to the rising influence of the Bolsheviks:
- The July Days - Protest against the Prov. Gov. in July. Wasn't organised by the Bolsheviks but carried signs saying, 'End To War', 'Peace, Bread, Land' and 'All Power to the Soviets'. These were suppressed by loyal prov. gov. troops. This showed the popularity of the Bolsheviks.
- The Kornilov Affair - Right-wing Russian general called Kornilov wanted to restore the Tsar to power. His troops began to march on Petrograd. Prov. Gov. in difficult situation. They got the Bolsheviks army (the Red Guard) to defend the city. They also released Bolshevik leaders and Lenin came out of hiding. Kornilov was defeated, Bolsheviks were hailed as heroes.
- Control of the Soviets - result of the Kornilov Affair. Bolsheviks elected in huge numbers on to the Soviets. 9th of Sept. Bolsheviks gained overall control of Petrograd Soviet. 25th Sept. Trotsky was elected as President.
The October Revolution
- Decision to stage a coup was on the 10th of Oct.
- Kamenez and Zinoviev disagreed with Lenin's arguement that the capitalist and socialist revolutions could take place so close together.
- The Bolsheviks were well prepared to seize power:
- Central Committee co-ordinated activities in Smolny Intitute
- Trotsky led the Military Revolutionary Committee. Trotsky was the strategic mastermind behind it.
- Red Guards now numbered 200,000
- Bolsheviks mounted a concerted propoganda campaign against the Prov. Gov.
- German gov. provided millions of marks in order to finance the revolution and take Russia out the war.
The Revolution itself was swift and decisive
24th October - detachments of Red Guards and soldiers, took possession of railway station, telephone exchanges, post offices and the national bank
25th October - Red Guards stormed the Winter Palace. Alexander Kerensky escaped in a car provided by American Government. At the same time 2nd All- Russian Congress of Soviets was assembling in the Smolny Institue. Bolsheviks dominated, Menesheviks and SR delegates showed their disapproval of events. But Trotsky shouted "You are miserable bankrupts your role is played out; go where you belong - into the dustbin of history".
26th October - Congress now consisted solely of Bolsheviks. Established the new government of the Council of People's Commissars. Lenin had no intention of sharing power