Russia in Revolution

What was the aftermath of the downfall of Nicholas?
-His downfall was welcomed in all parts of Russian society. -In the weeks after his abdication, Russia was gripped by a mood of euphoria. In political circles however, fault lines began to open up. -The arrangement negotiated in the immediate afterma
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Provisional Government
-Took office in March 1917 and was essentially a Progressive Bloc government. -All of its members were, with the exception of Alexander Kerensky, were middle-class liberals. Its chief minister was the modest, unassuming and widely respected Prince Lv
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Alexander Kerensky
-Kerensky was a Petrograd lawyer who made a reputation before 1914 defending left-wing clients in political cases. -In 1912, he was elected to the fourth duma as a Trudovik -After the Feb Rev, now loosely aligned to the SRs, he became vice chairman o
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Weaknesses of the Provisional Government
-In March 1917, PG was in authority but it was toothless and had no means of compelling people to obey its orders. -It had no authority over the Petrograd garrison which was firmly under the control of the Petrograd Soviet as a result of its Order Nu
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The Petrograd Soviet's amount of power
- The Petrograd Soviet was in complete control of the capital because it was supported by the key workers and the city's army garrison. -The loyalty of railway and postal workers to the PS ensured that it controlled the city's link to the outside wor
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Was Dual Power really in place?
Dual Power was a misleading term of the relationship between the Provisional Government and the Petrograd Soviet. It implies that power was somehow share, or equally shared or divided between the two bodies. This was emphatically not the case.
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The membership of the Petrograd Soviet
-One representative from each battalion of soldiers (250 men) and one for every 1,000 workers. -The garrison was over represented in the PS as two thirds of it 3,000 members were soldiers' representatives despite the fact that in 1917 there were fewe
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Why was the political complexion of the Soviet constantly fluctuating?
-There were few set procedures and much was decided at grassroots level. -Representatives did not serve for fixed terms but could be recalled by their electors and replaced at any time.
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Aims of the Petrograd soviet
-Protecting the interests of the soldiers and workers until the deliberations of the constituent assembly led to the establishment in Russia of a fully democratic system of government. -In practice this involved monitoring the activities of the Provi
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Early political reforms
A series of measures that would mean Russia was the "freest country in the world" = -abolition of capital punishment -unrestricted freedom of speech and assembly -equal rights for all citizens regardless of class, religion or nationality. -dissolutio
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Opposition to the Provisional Government
-Mensheviks and SRs dominated the PS and became increasingly critical of the middle class liberal in the PG. -The dispute between the two bodies centered on the issue of Russia's participation in the war. -April 1917 the Provisional Government's fore
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The return of Lennin
-Lenin returned on April 3rd, just before the Milyukov crisis broke out. On arrival, he singled his opposition to the polices of the Menshevik and SR leaders of the Petrograd Soviet meaning the reconstructed PG was under imitate attack from Political
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Conflicting attitudes to war
-In negotiations between Duma Liberals and the Petrograd Soviet that led to the formation of the Provisional Government, the theme of Russia's involvement in war was avoided. -Liberals were intent on fighting until victory was achieved but leaders of
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What was "An Appeal to All Peoples of the World"?
-In mid March, an increasingly self confident Petrograd Soviet published a statement of Russia's war aims (an appeal to all peoples of the world). -It set out a policy known as revolutionary defencism created by Tsereteli)
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What was Revolutionary Defencism?
-A product of a variety of pressures. -As a socialist, Tsereteli wanted no part in an imperialist war. He was also conscious too of the longing for peace among Russia's workers and peasants. -On the other hand he feared military defeat as if Germany
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What three pledges did Revolutionary Defencism involve?
-Russia would not make a separate regime with Germany, but would bring about a general peace settlement involving other nations. -Russia would not seek territorial gains at the expense of other countries. -Until a peace settlement was reached, Russia
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Milyukov Crisis
-Milyukov was a patriot and wanted Russia to fight until Germany had been defeated. He also wanted an allied victory as this would mean Russia would gain control of the sea way between the Black Sea and Mediterranean after the war = meaning he hated
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What did the clashes on the 21st Of April lead to?
-Convinced Prince Lvov that, in the interests of stability, the running battle between provisional government and Petrograd soviet had to be brought to an end. -He appealed to Soviet Leadership to take office in a reconstructed Provisional Government
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Significance of the Milyukov crisis
-Demonstrated a clear extent of Soviet power and the weakness of the Provisional Government. -It brought "dual power" in its original form to an end. -It ended the optimistic mood that had been evident in Petrograd the weeks after the Feb Rev.
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Lenin's return to Russia
-Lenin's return to Russia in April 1917 was a turning point in attitudes towards the provisional government. -In March, all the major socialist and Marxist parties of Russia had accepted that Russia was not ready for a socialists revolution. -However
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The April Theses
-As soon as Lenin arrived in Petrograd he set out his April Theses. These were radical Bolshevik alternatives to the Provisional Governments policies. -The theses contained major slogans which appealed to the majority of Russians. -Peace = appealed t
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The April Theses (Peace)
-The desire for peace was one of the strongest flowing currents in Russia 1917. -Peace seemed as far away as ever which opened criticism of the PG's polices on revolutionary defencism. -In the April Thesis, Lenin dismissed RD which created the idea t
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April Theses (Land Reform)
-The PG refused to deal with land reform, claiming it was a matter for a fully democratic government and believed land seizures encouraged desertions from the army as peasant conscripts would leave their units to claim their share of land. -Lenin how
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Why was "All power to the Soviets" attractive
-Man workers in Petrograd hated the upper and middle class and wanted to deny them political right. -Lenin's plans offered a lifeline to members of soviets who faced an uncertain future after the Constituent Assembly had left soviets with no obvious
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The impact of Lenin's return
-Initially, Lenin's return had little impact. -Tsreteli, who had been in Petrograd since late mid March believed that Lenin was simply out of touch with the Revolution in Russia. -Some Mensheviks even claimed that Lenin's theses proved he had gone ma
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The June Offensive
-On June 18th 1917, following a two day artillery bombardment, Russia's armies attacked their German and Austrian counterparts along a 120 mile front. -This was strange to launch as army morale was low and Russia was war weary. -The troops sent into
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The real reasons for the June Offensive (Kerensky Offensive)
-Provisional government's rev defencism saw it as an ideal way to get Europe wide peace negotiations back on track. -War minister Kerensky had visions of leading Russia to victory and covering himself with glory. -In November 1916, Britain, France a
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Failures of the June Offensive
-Was followed by a German counter attack, causing Russian armies to break down. -150,000 Russian soldiers lost their lives and even more deserted the front line. -The ill fated offensive weakened the Provisional Government. -The military disaster mad
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The July Days
-Military defeat and disillusionment with the Provisional Government led to a new political crisis. -On July 3rd, Kadet ministers resigned from the government which provoked military uprising. -Around 70,000 soldiers and armed workers surrounded the
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The impact of the July Days
-Leaders of the Provisional Government denounced the Bolsheviks as a threat to the stability of Russia. -On July 6th soldiers surrounded the Bolshevik Headquarters and 500 Bolsheviks surrounded. -The government started propaganda campaign accusing Le
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Kerensky as prime minster
-The July Days had threatened to overthrow the government. Prince Lvov resigned and Kerensky responded by forming a "government of salvation of the revolution". The second provisional government was based between coalition between moderate socialists
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Kerensky's weaknesses
-Kerensky had very little administrative experience prior to forming this government. -Therefore he did not fully understand how to run the government. -Kerensky was also addicted to cocaine and morphine which he used to cope with the pressures of hi
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Kerensky's polices
-Kerensky wanted to restore domestic order, therefore he imposed repression including = -Press censorship -The establishment of military courts to punish deserters and Bolsheviks who were s-reading antiwar propaganda in the army. -The death penalty
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The membership of the new government
-Kerensky became head of government at a time of crisis. Many socialists had lost faith in the government and Kadet leaders refused to serve in a socialist-led government. Therefore Kerensky struggled to assemble a coalition. -Kerensky's cabinet cont
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Socialist fractions
-By July the Mensheviks and the SRs were split. -In each case the right wing fractions favoured revolutionary defencism, and the support of the Provisional Government. -However the left wing fractions favoured policies such as Soviet power, workers c
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Problems in agriculture
-Inflation had been an ongoing problem during the war but had became worse in 1917. Russian paper money lost half of its value in the second half of 1917. -Consequently, many peasants refused to accept payment. -This, along with huge problems in Russ
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Problems in industry
-Life in the cities deteriorated dramatically during 1917. -Between January and June the production of fuel fell by more than a third and factory production also droped by 36 percent. -In response to these deteriorating conditions workers launched st
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The Kornilov Affair
-Kerensky appointed Kornilov to take control of the Russian army. Kornilov had no sympathy for revolutionaries and was keen to assert the government's authority over the soviets, trade unions and unruly peasants . -Kerensky hoped that Kornilov's brut
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The Kornilov Revolt
Kornilov apparently demained to place Petrograd under military control. Kerensky refused, knowing that the workers of Petrograd would resist. As a result, Kerensky dismissed Kornilov as commander-in-chief. -Kornilov responded by ordering a detachment
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Arming the Bolsheviks
-Kerensky was forced to ask the Petrograd Soviet to defend the capital. -He agreed to arm the Red Guards (a Bolshevik dominated military) . -This decision strengthened the Bolsheviks, as Trotsky was chairman of the Soviet, and by the end of August th
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Kornilov defeated
-The Bolsheviks played a key role in defeating Kornilov's forces = -Trotsky ordered railway unions to prevent a train carrying Kornilovs troops from entering the city. -Bolsheviks infiltrated Kornilov's troops and persuaded many to abandon the attac
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What were the consequences of the Kornilov Revolt?
-The Kornilov affair seriously weakened the Provisional Government. -The vast majority of Russian Workers had lost faith in the Provisional government. -Discipline within the Russian Armed forces deteriorated even further. -Support for Bolsheviks gre
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What part did Lenin play in bringing about the October Revolution?
-Left to themselves, other Bolsheviks in the spring of 1917, would not have thought in terms of making a bid for power. -The policies Lenin had set out in the April Theses were the basis on which the Bolsheviks were able to increase their strength in
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The Second All-Russia Congress of Soviets
-They were due to meet in Petrograd at the end of October. -It brought together representatives of workers, soldiers and peasants from across Russia. -The first congress had supported the PG but due to growing economic problems, military failure, the
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Lenin's influence on the Central Committee
-In August, the Provisional Government announced that new elections would take place for a new Constituent Assembly in November. -Lenin knew that. the SRs would win, and that the Constituent Assembly would have a mandate to create a democratic govern
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Divisions in the Central Committee
-Lenin wanted to seize power immediately prior to the Second All-Russia Congress of Soviets, hoping that the Congress of Soviets would authorise the creation of a Bolshevik government. -However, Lenin's plans did not have the support of the entire Ce
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Trotsky and the Military Revolutionary Committee
-Trotsky played a key role in the October Revolution. -Trotsky was chair of the Petrograd Soviet, therefore he could organise the uprising through the soviet. In this sense, he could make the Soviet look like it was seizing power, rather than the Bol
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Pretext for action
-In mid October, the Provisional Government announced that the Petrograd's troops were were being moved away from the city. -The Soviet were horrified as they assumed that the troops who were loyal to the Soviet were being moved out of the city so th
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The MRC and Petrograd's soldiers
-The MRC had great authority in Petrograd. -The city's soldiers and sailors respected the MRC as a true guardian of the revolution. -In mid-October Trotsky made sure that the MRC formed close links with all of the units of Soldiers in Petrograd.
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The fall of the Provisional Government
-The first phase of the seizure for power occurred when soldiers loyal to the MRC occupied the post telegraph offices, as well as the railway stations. -In this way it meant that the Bolsheviks extended their control over the city's infrastructure, w
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Lenin's new government
-The storming of the Winter Palace took place on the same day that the Second Congress of Soviets opened. -The Bolsheviks did not have a majority of support at the Second Congress of Soviets. -Indeed, only 300 of the 670 delegates supported the Bolsh
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Creating Sovnarkom
-News that Lenin and Trotsky had successfully seized power was greeted by cheers from the congress. -However, some Mensheviks and SRs walked out of the Congress in protest. This reduced Menshevik and SR representation and gave the Bolsheviks majority
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Constituent Assembly Elections
-Following the October Revolution, Lenin claimed that Sovnarkom was the legitimate government of Russia. -However, in reality the Bolsheviks had little control of life outside the capital. -Lenin faced a series of obstacles in establishing his new go
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The Election Results
-SRs = 39.5% -Bolsheviks = 22.5% -Kadets = 4.5% -Mensheviks = 3.2% -The elections were a clear victory for the SRs. -While the Bolsheviks won less than a quarter of the support of the country, the November result marked the high point of Bolshevik su
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The consequences of the election
-The election results demonstrated that the SRs were clearly Russia's most popular party. However, the Bolsheviks were in a reasonably strong position: -The SRs were split and therefore weak. -The left SRs supported the Sovnarkom and therefore the Bo
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Provisional Government


-Took office in March 1917 and was essentially a Progressive Bloc government. -All of its members were, with the exception of Alexander Kerensky, were middle-class liberals. Its chief minister was the modest, unassuming and widely respected Prince Lv

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Alexander Kerensky


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Weaknesses of the Provisional Government


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The Petrograd Soviet's amount of power


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