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Revolutionary Russia Bolshevik consolidation of power under Lenin Once in power, Bolsheviks faced difficulties in trying to consolidate their

r hold over Russia o Four basic questions Could Bolsheviks survive at all? If so, could they extend their control over the whole of Russia? Could they negotiate a swift end to Russias war with Germany? Could they bring economic stability to Russia? o Bolsheviks had few plans to help Russia All time was devoted to preparing for the revolution Little thought given to details of how affairs would be organized after revolution Trotsky expressed the Marxists belief that after the triumph of the proletariat the State would wither away o all we need to do is issue a few decrees, then shut up shop and go home Circumstances did not allow such a relaxed approach Structure of power under Bolsheviks o Lenin claimed October Revolution to be a taking of power by soviets Rather, it was a seizure of power by Bolsheviks Lenin claimed Sovnarkom had been appointed to govern by the Congress of Soviets Government Lenin set up after coming to power Composed of commissars under Lenins direction According to this claim, the distribution of power in Russia took the form of a pyramid Sovnarkom at top, drawing authority from Russian people expessing their will through soviets at the bas o Fall of tsardom resulted in traditional forms of government being broken down Allowed Bolsheviks to make their own rules o Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party Provided members of government Under Lenins direction In theory, derived authority from All-Russian Congress of the Bolshevik Party whose locally elected representatives voted on policy In practice, Congress and local parties did as they were told o Democratic centralism Lenin insisted the Bolsheviks operate under this principle Power exercised from top down, rather than the bottom up True democracy in the Bolshevik party lay in the obedience of the members of the instructions of the leaders Bolsheviks early measures o Principal changes introduced by Bolsheviks, October 1917 July 1918 Decrees on Peace, Land, and Workers Control Issued in November 1917 Formal recognitions of what had already taken place Decree on Land o Gave Bolshevik approval to the overthrowing of landlords by peasants Decree on Workers Control

During 1917, large number of factories taken over by workers Workers committees formed Inefficient o Fall in industrial output o Accepted takeover Instructed committees to maintain order and discipline in the workplace Enforcing decrees was an issue o Not enough influence and domination Old class system declared to be abolished Moscow brought under Red (Bolshevik) control All titles abolished comrade became standard greeting Old legal system replaced with peoples courts Creation of Cheka Armistice with Germany Followed by peace treaty Vesenkha set up to plan economy December 1917 Took charge of all existing institutions for the regulation of economic life Initially unable to exercise the full authority granted to it Important developments o Banks and railways nationalized o Foreign debts cancelled o Transport system made less chaotic Red Army founded Russia formally became the Russian Socialist Federal Soviet Republic (RSFSR) Bolshevik Party retitled the Communist Party Russian calendar modernized in line with system used in advanced world Old dating when referring to the 1917 Revolution remained the same Marriage Code gave married women equal rights with husbands Schools brought under State Control Lenins policy after taking power was based on facts of the situation rather than theory Said change from bourgeois to proletariat state could not be done overnight Government would keep most existing structures until transition had been completed and a fully socialist system could be adopted Transitional stage referred to as state capitalism Lenin was aware that there were many Bolsheviks who wanted the immediate introduction of a sweeping revolutionary policy New regime did not have enough power to impose this Authority did not run much past Petrograd and Moscow Existing policies would prevail until Bolsheviks could exercise wider political and military control War against Germany and Austria brought Russia to point of economic collapse Shortage of raw materials and investment capital Reduced industrial production to two-thirds of level in 1914 o

Inflation rocketed Transport system crippled Hunger gripped large areas of Russia Grain supplies over 13 million tons short of nations needs Food crisis further deepened after October Revolution by ceding to Germany of Ukraine, Russias richest grain-producing region o Lenin was conscious that, since the peasants made up most of the population, they would be at the base of the food crisis Considered how the peasants could be persuaded or forced to provide adequate food supplies for the nation Dissolution of Constituent Assembly o October Revolution had come too late to prevent elections to All-Russian Constituent Assembly in November Elections not in favor of Bolsheviks Outvoted by nearly two to one by Social Revolutionaries (SRs) Won only 24% percent of vote Gained barely a quarter of seats in the Assembly o Lenin unconcerned with democracy Wanted to create a party capable of taking power when the moment came Didnt want elections of undermine the Bolsheviks power o Assembly dissolved at gunpoint by the Red Guards Bolsheviks hold on power precarious Bolshevik survival seemed slim Strong and widespread opposition Bolsheviks not considering power-sharing Lenin claimed corruption in Assembly Elections rigged by SRs and Kadets