Sources of Bolshevik Victory in the Revolution and the Civil War While speaking about the political history of the U.S.S.R. it is necessary to say about economic, social, or cultural concerns. They help to understand the impact of Party-State decisions. Richard Sakwa in his work “The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union: 1917-1991” says that the history of the Soviet Union was the history of a struggle of the Party leadership about the accommodation of Leninist theories; the problems of multinational empire; and the U.S.S.R. influence in the world. Most of all Sakwa pointed that political developments depended on the experience of the state and its people. (Sakwa, pp.3) Having examined Richard Sakwas work, it should be said that there were a lot of preconditions for great political, cultural and social changes in Russia, in 1917.
After the abolition of serfdom in 1861 peasants became legally free, though landowners were real owners of the land. Enormous population growth and poverty of the Russian peasants led to the land hunger as it was called. Land became the main goal for the Russian peasants. At the same time the rapid industrialization of Russia caused towns to be overcrowded. Most of all, industrial workers lived in poor conditions: poor sanitary conditions, long hours at work and harsh discipline. It should be pointed that by the end of 1915, there was a softening of the Russian economy.
The prices were high; and there were shortages. The European market was locked for the Russian economy. But the main social cause of the Russian Revolution was Tsar Nicholas’s defeat in World War I. (Sakwa, pp.19-23) In August 1914, almost all political parties supported Russian participation in World War I. Most of all, the United Kingdom and the French Third Republic allied in the Triple Entente and pressured to continue the war against Germany. But the Russian factories were not productive, the railway system was not good, the officers and commanders were incompetent; thats why Russia had great losses. (Sakwa, pp.25-30) It is evident that the 1917 February Revolution was the result of defeat in World War I and dissatisfaction with the inner and foreign policy made by the Tsar.
1533-1584 The Russian Empire, covering over one-sixth of the world, is governed by the sovereignty of Czar Ivan the Terrible. The feudal system oppresses every man, woman and child as the Czar releases "Tax Collectors" to maintain support for the nobles in the land. Brigands and financial extortionists persecute any lower class citizen who refuses to help contribute to the Czar's regime. 1682-1725 ...
But the February Revolution was the first stage and was followed with the October Revolution and the Civil war. The main goals of the February Revolution were the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II and the replacement of Imperial formation. As it was said earlier, the revolution has all the preconditions for a popular uprising. It began with strikes in Petrograd (St. Petersburg).
On March 15 Tsar Nicholas II was derthrown. The new regime was an alliance between liberals and socialists.
It was called the Provisional Government and its goals were to make political reforms and create a democratically elected executive and constituent assembly. At the same time the Petrograd Soviet of Workers’ Deputies was organized as a competing institution. The Petrograd Soviets role was to fight with “bourgeoisie and for guaranteed civil rights, abolition of religious and ethnic discrimination. It was the time of “diarchy”; and after the Petrograd Soviets Order No. 1in March the conflict became evident. (Sakwa, pp.32-37) The Bolsheviks were in power after the October Revolution and later founded the Soviet Union. The Bolsheviks were led by Vladimir Lenin, the primary theorist of Leninism, a variant of Marxism. When there was a conflict in the government Lenin stated that it was the time to take power into the Bolsheviks hands.
The organization included professional revolutionaries and governed by the principle of democratic centralism. Later they were known as the Communist Party and as the Red Army during the civil war. The popularity of the Bolsheviks increased steadily. In the Moscow and Petrograd Soviets the Bolsheviks won the elections, though there were movements in cities throughout the country. Bolsheviks were considered to be an avantgarde of the revolutionary proletariat. As it was pointed workers, soldiers and peasants were ready to struggle for better life.
... Red Guards in seizing political power with little bloodshed. This initiated the Russian Civil War between Bolshevik and other ... | Bolsheviks seize power in the October Revolution| Petrograd| Lenin and Trotsky, building on their promise of peace, land, and bread, lead the Petrograd Soviet and ...
The Bolsheviks program promised immediate peace, land to the peasants and the establishment of democratic liberties. Bolsheviks main slogans were “Peace, land, and bread”, “End the War” and “All land to the peasants”. Bolsheviks ideas were close to the proletariats and weaken the authority of the provisional government. In the October, 1917, the dual Authority was replaced with the Bolsheviks. (Sakwa, pp.44-63)The Bolsheviks were able to stop the WWI. They advocated various internationalist anti-war programs and developed solidarity between the workers of Russia, Germany, and the rest of the world. (Sakwa, pp.
105-7 ) Though the Bolsheviks had a strongly centralized hierarchy they were not a monolithic organization. Later they refused to co-operate with liberal or radical parties and even some socialist organizations; though sometimes they had to make alliances with them. One of the most powerful political forces at that time was the Social-Democratic movement that struggle for social justice. Its founder was Georgi Plekhanov. From the beginning the Social-Democrats worked with Lenin but later they were hostile toward the Bolsheviks. The other movement was conservatism though it was not so popular.
The representatives of it were conservative Siberian Cossacks. Omsk became the birthplace of the Russian conservatism. Conservative forces struggled for prevention of religious, cultural, or nationally defined beliefs and customs and supported Kolchak’s coup d’etat.( Sakwa, pp.107-118) The next political movement was nationalists. They were during the Russian Civil War and were rooted in Ukrainian nationalism. The largest group was led by Ataman Grigoriev. Ronald Grigor Suny in his work “The Revenge of the Past examines the roots of nationalism in the Russian Empire and later in the Soviet Union. First of all he pointed that class and nationality always overlap.
(Suny, pp.18-25) In the Russian Empire ethnic loyalties sometimes reinforced class. Suny divided the nations of the USSR into 9 major nationalities and pointed that the Ukrainians and Estonians had a deep ambiguity in their national and class orientations. But for other nations during the 1917 Revolution and Civil War nationalism was relatively weak. Suny emphasizes that people believed that non-Russians would be happy remaining within a multi-national empire. (Suny, pp.37-45) So, a lot of different political forces clashed during the Civil War. But the strongest ones were the Bolsheviks and the Whites. A lot of historians state that the Civil War was with foreign intervention. The Whites usually painted as bankrolled by foreign governments.
Bolshevik victory in the Russian Civil War of 1918 -1920 would not have been certain without the strong, determined and intelligent leadership provided by Trotsky and Lenin. The fact that the Bolsheviks were led by two individuals, who combined had tremendous political, social and military skills had a direct result on the outcome of the war. There were other significant contributing factors that ...
The White Army allied with many foreign forces such as Japanese, British, Canadian, French, American, German, Greek, and Czechoslovak. They Whites were accused in representing the interests of foreign powers. The Whites mostly supported monarchist ideals and was against creation of nation-states. The White Army was not a monolithic power. Most of all, it had not central coordination. The Russian Civil War between Whites and Reds raged from November of 1917 until 1921 and finished with the victory of the Reds and the establishment of the USSR.
The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union: 1917-1991. Routledge; 1 edition, 1999. Ronald Grigor, Suny. The Revenge of the Past: Nationalism, Revolutionism and the Collapse of the Soviet Union. Stanford University Press, 1993..