Is the Bolsheviks brutality the reason they held onto power from 1917-1924?
The Bolsheviks finally had what they wanted- control of Russia. But now that they had the power they had to keep it, whilst trying to gain public support. But during this period of time several hardships were encountered by Russia; the First World War, solved with the treaty of Brest Litovsk; a civil war and one of the worst famines in modern history. The way these were countered did not gain the Bolsheviks any favours, with war communism and severe oppression, public moral hit rock bottom.
One brutal method used was that the Bolsheviks were deceiving the entire population of Russia. They all thought that the soviet state had power and control of the government. The Russian people voted for the local soviets to be put into the All Russian Congress of Soviets and then the best people of the ARCS to go into the Sovnarkom to report to Lenin. However the real situation was that the Communist party had total control. The Communist members were in their local parties, several of the party members were picked to join the party congress; the best of the party congress would join the central committee and they reported to the Politburo, made up of seven members of the Bolshevik party under Lenin’s control. This was Lenin’s way of keeping his control over everything and he thought the ruse was a perfect way to manage the government. The repression of the people was quite severe and the deception is not the ideal start to have a long rule.
The constitution divides the war power between the congress and the President, in article I, section 8 the constitution says; ‘That congress shall have power …to declare war. ’ and in article II, section 2 it says; ‘ The President shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of United States. ’ The founders divided the power in my opinion for the reason that they don’t want to make the ...
One of the most brutal and terrifying aspects of the Bolshevik rule was the Cheka. This was the secret police force under Lenin and Trotsky – officially the Soviet State Security – created in December of 1917. They arrested anyone who was anti-Bolshevik. If you were lucky that’s all you would get, as many also got tortured for counter- revolutionary plans or just killed to keep them and others quiet. Those who they didn’t kill were sent to the gulags – labour camps – after the Cheka was sure they didn’t have any more information. Many people were not counter-revolutionaries just people that the Bolsheviks didn’t like, and were kidnapped to keep them silent. This tactic was basically to scare people into submission. In 1918 in just a few months over 800 people were arrested and shot without a trial. Many deserters from the army were tracked down and killed by the Cheka as they saw it as their job to carry out the court marshalling. In 1919 the number of deserters arrested was about 500,000 and by 1920 the figure had risen to around 800,000, but it’s unknown how many of these men were shot to provide examples of compliance for the rest. The Cheka were also the ones who killed the Romanov family, with the Tsar and his family out of the way, there was no going back to the Romanov dynasty. The Cheka were also the people who controlled the grain requisitioning during war communism, keeping the Red Guard in line. Due to this many peasants started to equally fear and hate them. Anyone who wanted to get rid of Bolshevik control was too scared to act. Lenin had successfully repressed the counter-revolutionaries by scaring them into submission.
The Red Terror is aptly named due the horrific amount of torture and murders during the civil war. This was the systematic oppression from the Bolshevik party and the main casualties were the counter-revolutionaries or the people suspected to be one. The main cause of the Red Terror to start was the assassination of Uritsky, the Petrograd Cheka leader and the attempted assassination of Lenin. Lenin was the one who wanted it to start as he wanted to stop the peasant uprisings and to crush the land owners who were violently retaliating to the grain requisitioning by the military units. He wanted the kulaks to be hung publicly so that others from miles around would understand the meaning and tremble in fear. He wanted people to understand that all the violence must stop and they had to let the requisitioning happen else they would share the same fate. The torture was the thing that scared people the most. At Odessa the Cheka tied White officers to planks and slowly fed them into furnaces or tanks of boiling water. The Voronezh Cheka rolled naked people around in barrels studded internally with nails; victims were crucified or stoned to death at Dnipropetrovsk. In Orel, water was poured on naked prisoners bound in the winter streets until they became living ice statues; in Kiev, Chinese Cheka detachments placed rats in iron tubes sealed at one end with wire netting and the other placed against the body of a prisoner, with the tubes being heated until the rats gnawed through the victim’s body in an effort to escape. Those who were killed in prison were taken to the execution cellar and either shot in the back of the neck or herded into groups and left to a machine gunner – the dead sometimes being left there for weeks. The whole room was blood stained from the thousands killed inside its walls. Others killed outside were made to dig their own graves first to save the Cheka the work.
Guns don’t Kill People, People kill People It is important these days to have some way to protect your family in a house hold emergency. If that means to have a tazer, bat, or a gun to defend your children if necessary from a home intruder. I believe that every house hold should have a firearm somewhere for self defense. Many believe that guns kill people but someone has to pull the trigger and ...
Another brutal method was the crushing of the Kronstadt sailors. During the uprising the Kronstadt sailors were the Bolsheviks main army force. They were seen to be a major oppressive force and something to avoid if you didn’t want to be hurt or killed. But during the civil war the sailors started to feel used and no longer wanted to kill people. They didn’t agree with war communism as they saw it as too harsh and also blamed the Bolsheviks for the inflation and resulting famines. February 26th 1921 several Kronstadt sailors travelled to Petrograd to assess the situation and on the 28th the crews of the battleships Petropavlovsk and Sevastopol held an emergency meeting. They asked 15 demands from the Bolshevik government asking things like a new election for the soviets, freedom of speech for all and private trade. These demands were all rejected and the Bolsheviks feared that the black hundreds – the Tsars secret police force – was behind the rebellion. On the 7th March, the Bolsheviks began its attack on Kronstadt with 60,000 troops. The Red Army were under instructions to gain control quickly before the ice connecting Kronstadt to the mainland melted, leaving the base untouchable and completely impenetrable. During the first week the Kronstadt sailors held their own and the red army fell and littered the ice. But on March 17th the tables turned and the Red Army finally entered the city, but suffered 10,000 fatalities in the process. It only took the Red Army two days to gain control of the city of Kronstadt and the sailors either fled to Finland or stayed to deal with the consequences. Many were executed, and similar amounts were sent to the Solovki Prison Camp. Lenin described the Kronstadt uprising “lit up reality like a lightening flash” and caused Lenin to revise his war communism to the New Economic Policy – or the NEP.
By looking at what the areas where the Soviets failed during their in Afghanistan, we can further develop our counterinsurgency tactics and doctrine and shape our forces. Mujahideen Defeats of the Red Army An important and remarkable event in history was the Soviet-Afghan War. The Afghans, like their ancestors, battled a hostile, invading force that wanted to dominate their homeland. “For the ...
Overall the Bolsheviks did manage to stay in control thanks to the brutal methods they used. The Russian people were scared to death of the Cheka and feared the labour and prison camps. The Red Terror only heightened the fear. The famines were only getting worse under war communism and although the NEP did solve the economic crisis in Russia, it went against everything the Bolshevik party stood for. The crushing of the sailors, a force that previously stood beside the Bolsheviks only turned the public against them even more although no one dared to say a word. Even though the Bolsheviks did win the civil war, they didn’t win public support with the severe repressive methods after the war was over.