Russia Continued. Competing Revolutions and the Birth of the USSR

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1 Russia Continued Competing Revolutions and the Birth of the USSR

2 Review: 3 Main Causes of Russian Revolution of 1917 Peasant Poverty Farmers: indebted and barely above subsistence level Outdated agricultural techniques unable to meet population demand Growing and Politicized Workforce Urban areas: growing literacy (parallels with French Revolution) Unfair, poor conditions for workers; restraint on protest Poor Governance by the Tsar Autocratic ruler Lack of representation for most Russians

3 February Revolution By February 1917 (March 1917, depending on the calendar), tsar s position is untenable. Tsar Nicholas II abdicates, and a provisional government is installed. Provisional government - parts of the duma, and workers councils called soviets. Various groups jockeyed for power: Constitutional Democrats, Social Democrats, Social Revolutionaries, subsets of each, etc.

4 Aleksander Kerensky ( )

5 Aleksander Kerensky ( ) Aleksander Kerensky - a leader of the Russian provisional government Kerensky s Party: The Constitutional Democrats. Most moderate party of those supporting revolution in Russia. Goal: After guiding Russia to the end of World War I, install some form of a constitutional democracy. The political and economic system would be some blend of socialist and free market ideas, probably not pure socialism.

6 Vladimir Lenin ( )

7 Vladimir Lenin ( ) Was previously a political exile in Switzerland Had been a political dissident for years. Leader of a subset of Social Democrats - Bolsheviks Socialist - followed Marx s ideas Was permitted by Germany to return to Russia Strongly opposed Russian involvement in World War I

8 Vladimir Lenin ( ) Lenin s Party: The Bolsheviks. Most radical party of those supporting revolution. Bolsheviks were a subset of the Social Democrats. The other major subset: the Mensheviks. The split was mostly over organizational issues; the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks agreed on most things. Both parties believed that the proletarian revolution was necessary. Proletariat need to seize control of the means of production - a step toward collective ownership.

9 Vladimir Lenin ( ) Lenin s Party: The Bolsheviks. Most radical party of those supporting revolution. Goal: Install a communist system of government and a planned economy in Russia Planned economy: not driven by a free market. Rather, resources divided according to people s needs. Ultimately became known as the Communist Party.

10 Provisional Government (March - Oct. 1917) Kerensky becomes prime minister. Ideal goal: form a constitutional democracy with a restored (and uncorrupted) duma Some reforms instituted right away (free speech rights, universal suffrage - the right to vote) But...two major problems remained. Failure to take Russia completely out of World War I. Peasants still without adequate food and land.

11 Bolsheviks: Ultimately successful Provisional government loses support and power Russia - mired in a bloody civil war Bolsheviks prevail Overthrow the provisional government and seize power in October Bolshevik government, launched as a workers democracy, was basically a dictatorship with Lenin in charge.

12 Bolsheviks: Ultimately successful Kerensky: exiled. Spent the rest of his life in New York. Russia unites with neighboring communist countries and becomes the Soviet Union in Lenin: ruled as Soviet head of government until his death in Expressed concern about his successor, Joseph Stalin Stalin would preside over the Great Purge in the 1930s, persecution of political dissidents and the deaths of millions of Russians.

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