History of RUSSIA: St. Vladimir to Vladimir Putin Part 2. By Vladimir Hnízdo

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1 History of RUSSIA: St. Vladimir to Vladimir Putin Part 2 By Vladimir Hnízdo

2 It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.

3 I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. That key is Russian national interest. W. Churchill, October 1939

4 Part 2 1. World War I 2. February Revolution October 1917 Revolution and the Bolshevik Dictatorship 4. Civil War, Consolidation of the Soviet State 5. Stalin, Victor of Succession Struggle 6. Collectivization, Great Terror 7. World War II 8. Cold War, De-Stalinization 9. Gorbachev, Perestroika, Collapse of the Soviet Union 10. Putin s Russia

5 World War I ( ) Allies: France, Britain, Russia, USA (from 1917) vs. Central Powers: Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey Outpouring of patriotism on both sides But Russian Bolsheviks against war (unlike most other socialists)

6 Russian Strategic Goals in North-East Destruction of German rule in East Prussia and of Austrian rule in Galicia and Bukovina Initially, some success, but advance halted quickly German offensive Spring 1915 decisive

7 Enormous costs by September 1915 Pushed back 300 miles (Russian Poland, Galicia, most of Baltic lost) Loss of 2 million men (1 mil. as POW s) Imperial Russia s deep deficiencies lack of preparedness Inability of administration in critical situation Tsar Nicolas II authority quickly weakening Great resentment of Empress Alexandra Rasputin Affair 82B375A8BA86DCBC386382B375A8&FORM=VIRE

8 February 1917 Revolution Triggered by food shortages Petrograd general strike February 24 Bloody Sunday Feb. 25 Initial spontaneity, but Petrograd Soviet and Duma Feb. 28 Tsar abdicates March 2 Provisional Government with Soviet support Two power centers: the Soviet (Menshevik and SR majority) and the PG (Kadets)

9 Aims of the Provisional Government Kadet program: liberal revolution (universal equal civic and political rights) Immediate aim: to establish order in country and armed forces continuation of the war Elections to Constituent Assembly that would give permanent government and adopt a democratic constitution; eventually scheduled for November 1917 Any important reforms to be dealt with after the elections From beginning lacking effective means of control

10 Petrograd Soviet Socialist parties: Socialist Revolutionaries (SRs), Mensheviks, Bolsheviks initially in minority Social revolution demands: army s control to be passed to soldiers committees, land redistribution to peasants 1 st ALL-Russian Congress of Soviets, early June 1917: 285 SRs, 248 Mensheviks, 105 Bolsheviks Conditional support of the PG

11 Lenin s Return Of decisive importance for the whole course of the Revolution Passage through Germany and Finland in a sealed railway carriage, arranged by the Germans On his arrival April 3, April Theses: All power to the Soviets End of War Land to Peasants Radical, populist, startled even the most radical Bolsheviks Call for an immediate socialist proletarian revolution, skipping the liberal bourgeois stage Belief that Central and Western Europe was on the brink of socialist revolution; Russia the weakest link in the imperialist chain (Lenin s return)

12 Vladimir I. Lenin Leon D. Trotsky Alexander F. Kerensky ( ) ( ) ( )

13 Implications for Bolsheviks: to organize masses against the PG Lenin manages to bring the Party round the Thesis, on the strength of his personality and growing popularity of the antiwar stance with soldiers and workers The war --- the most serious and divisive issue for the PG Soviet leaders, fearing civil war, form coalition with liberals in PG, where now socialists (Mensheviks, SRs, SR-break-away Trudoviks) have 6 out of 16 posts Their policy: Revolutionary Defensism But Bolsheviks determined anti-war opposition

14 June and July Events Fatal act of the PG: the offensive of June 1917 After brief advance, German counter-offensive Collapse, disintegration of Russian front, widespread desertion (Dr Zhivago, desertions) PG coalition falls apart Uprising when Petrograd garrison ordered to front, Bolsheviks supporting them, but not decided yet to seizepower; the Soviet opposing Uprising folds in

15 Alexander Kerensky (an SR) becomes the PG prime minister PG without Soviet support Anti-Bolshevik campaign Most Bolshevik leaders (including Trotsky) arrested Lenin fleeing into hiding in Finland Kornilov Affair, August 1917 General Kornilov appointed Commander-in-Chief by Kerensky Pushes for measures curbing Soviet power in Army Sends Cossacks to occupy Petrograd and disarm its garrison Kerensky condemns Kornilov Bolsheviks rehabilitated, Trotsky released Kornilov s move ends when his Cossacks lay down arms End result: Kerensky, PG seriously weakened, Bolsheviks strengthened

16 October 1917 Cooperation of socialist parties opens for some Bolsheviks the prospect of attaining Soviet power politically But Lenin resolves for an uprising against the PG Rapidly changing political fortunes --- Moscow municipal elections, end September: SR falling from 56% to 31%, Mensheviks from 14% to 4%, but Bolsheviks rising from 11% to 31% and Kadets from 17% to 31% Bolshevik Central Committee, against Lenin s exhortations (still from his Finland hiding), resolves to wait for the 2 nd All-Russian Soviet Congress for the transfer of power to the Soviets Lenin returns secretly to Petrograd, and on October 10 forces the CC the decision to prepare for an uprising

17 October 16, the CC approves (19 votes to 2) an immediate armed uprising The Soviet Congress delayed to October 25; Petrograd Military Revolutionary Committee (MRC) forms October 20, strongly supporting Bolsheviks Late evening October 24 Lenin starts fom Bolshevik HQs in Smolny Institute directing the uprising Overthrow of the PG a short, limited operation; Red Guards of the MRC storming the Winter Palace, seat of the PG, October 25 The convened Soviet Congress presented with the Bolshevik takeover Most SR s and Mensheviks walk out Rump Soviet approves a Bolshevik government, The Council (Soviet) of People s Commissars, led y Lenin

18 (October Rev. Lenin) (October Revolution debunked )

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