The Constitutional Democratic Party was a liberal political party in the Russian Empire. Konstantin Kavelin's and Boris Chicherin's writings formed the theoretical basis of the party's platform. Historian Pavel Miliukov was the party's leader throughout its existence. The Kadets' base of support were intellectuals and professionals; university professors and lawyers were particularly prominent within the party. A large number of Kadet party members were veterans of the zemstvo, local councils. The Constitutional Democratic Party formed from the merger of several liberal groupings: the Union of Liberation, the Union of Zemstvo Constitutionalists, and the Union of Unions. workers' right to an eight-hour day. "were unwaveringly committed to full citizenship for all of Russia's minorities" formed in Moscow on October 12-18, 1905 at the height of the Russian Revolution of 1905 when Tsar Nicholas II was forced to sign the October Manifesto granting basic civil liberties. The Kadets were to the immediate Left of the Octobrists, universal suffrage and a Constituent Assembly that would determine the country's form of government. This radicalism was despite the fact 60% of Kadets were nobles. The Kadets were one of the parties invited by the reform-minded Prime Minister Sergei Witte to join his cabinet in October-November 1905, but the negotiations broke down over the Kadets' radical demands and Witte's refusal to drop notorious reactionaries like Petr Nikolayevich Durnovo from the cabinet. With some socialist and revolutionary parties boycotting the election to the First State Duma in February 1906, the Kadets received 37% of the urban vote and won over 30% of the seats in the Duma. They interpreted their electoral win as a mandate and allied with the left-leaning peasant Trudovik faction, forming a majority in the Duma. When their declaration of legislative intent was rejected by the government at the start of the parliamentary session in April, they adopted a radical oppositionist line, denouncing the government at every opportunity. On July 9, the government announced that the Duma was dysfunctional and dissolved it. In response, 120 Kadet and 80 Trudovik and Social Democrat deputies went toVyborg (then a part of the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland and thus beyond the reach of Russian police) and responded with the Vyborg Manifesto (or the "Vyborg Appeal"), written by Miliukov. In the manifesto, they called for passive resistance, non-payment of taxes and draft avoidance. The appeal failed to have an effect on the population at large and proved both ineffective and counterproductive, leading to a ban on its authors', including the entire Kadet leadership, participation in future Dumas. This was further accentuated by the force of the tsar trying to control and deteriorate the power of the Duma.1906 declared their support for a constitutional monarchy. The government, however, remained suspicious of the Kadets until the fall of the monarchy in 1917. During the February Revolution of 1917, Kadet deputies in the Duma and other prominent Kadets formed the core of the newly formed Russian Provisional Government They introduced legislation abolishing all limitations based on religion and nationality and introduced an element of self-determination by transferring power from governor-generals to local representatives. One of the Kadet leaders, Prince Lvov, became Prime Minister and Miliukov became Russia's Foreign Minister. A radical party just 11 years earlier, after the February revolution the Kadets occupied the rightmost end of the political spectrum since all monarchist parties had been dissolved and the Kadets were the only openly functioning non-socialist party remaining. The July Days did not end the revolution's summer of discontent. On the one hand, the propertied classes' fears of chaos and disorder from below seemed to have been realized; on the other, the Provisional Government, now led by Aleksandr Kerenskii and galvanized into action against the Bolsheviks, seemed less likely than ever to alleviate the economic distress and social resentment among the lower classes. While factory management frequently responded to rising costs and loss of control over workers by curtailing or even shutting down operations, workers increasingly resorted to strikes, physical attacks against foremen and other line supervisors, and occupations of factory grounds. The breakdown of food and fuel distribution systems had ripple effects throughout the entire economy and society. Crime and acts of violence rose dramatically as unruly bands of armed deserters roamed through the streets and railroad stations. In the countryside, peasant land seizures went unpunished. Further afield, in some of the national minority areas, separatist movements gathered pace, while in the northwest the German army was advancing. As class polarization became more manifest and conspiracy theories proliferated, the whole country seemed to be falling apart. "Chaos in the army, chaos in foreign policy, chaos in industry and chaos in the nationalist questions" was the way Pavel Miliukov, the Kadet Party leader, summed up the situation in late July.
These, then, were the circumstances in which General Lavr Kornilov, appointed Supreme Commander of the Russian armed forces on July 18, appeared as a savior to many who longed for an end to the revolutionary "chaos." Those who backed his candidacy for the role of military dictator included several key politicians from the conservative and centrist parties, top military personnel, and banking and industrial leaders associated with the Society for the Economic Rehabilitation of Russia and the Republican Center. Lauded as a hero after his escape from a Hungarian prisoner-of-war camp and return to Russia in 1916, Kornilov held the Petrograd Soviet responsible for the breakdown of discipline in the army. He also came to regard the Provisional Government as lacking the backbone to dissolve the Soviet and therefore unworthy of survival. On August 27, after several ambiguous exchanges with Kerenskii who desired to bring the Soviet to heel but not to eliminate the institution, Kornilov ordered General Krymov to lead the "Savage Division" and the Third Cavalry Corps on an assault of Petrograd.
This attempted putsch was an abysmal failure mainly because of the Soviet's effective mobilization of workers and soldiers in defense of the revolution. The key defenders were armed workers organized into Red Guards, elements of the Petrograd Garrison, and railroad workers who halted the trains carrying Kornilov's troops while they were en route to the capital. By August 31, Krymov was dead, having committed suicide, and Kornilov and several associates were under arrest. The main victor in the Kornilov Affair was the radical left, and in particular the Bolsheviks who had long warned of the danger of a counter-revolutionary thrust. Kerenskii's authority and that of the Provisional Government were severely compromised, and the way now appeared open towards realizing Lenin's injunction for the soviets to assume "all power."
During the stormy years 1905-1906 several mutinies broke out on Kronstadt. The sailors were important allies to the Bolsheviks after the February Revolution (1917), when the Kronstadt Soviet opposed the provisional government, declared a "Kronstadt Republic," and took part in the July 1917 mutiny.
It was a rude shock to the Bolsheviks when the red sailors of Kronstadt went into open rebellion in March 1921. The sailors saw themselves as loyal to the Soviet cause, if not to the Communist rulers. That bitter winter saw Kronstadt, like most other cities in Russia, hungry and discontented. Anger at material deprivations was compounded by the authoritarian regime the Bolsheviks were building, which seemed to violate the spirit of the revolution that the sailors had helped win. Popular unrest finally grew into strikes, which led to riots, lockouts, arrests. Finally on February 26, local Communist authorities declared martial law. A pattern of sharp protest and response escalated rapidly from here to a state of mutiny.
The mutiny was centered on two battleships with revolutionary pedigrees, the Petropavlovsk and Sevastopol, which were frozen in the ice of Kronstadt harbor. A delegation headed by Stepan Petrichenko, chief clerk of the Petropavlovsk, drafted a set of fifteen demands which it presented to the Kronstadt Soviet on February 28. They included such traditional democratic rights as freedom of assembly and speech; egalitarian measures such as equal rations for all working people; and an end to the Bolshevik monopoly on power. The sailors also demanded an end to the strict economic controls of war communism. The Kronstadt Soviet, run by loyal Bolsheviks, called a public meeting for 1 March in response to the insurgent demands. It was attended by over 16,000 people, including Mikhail Kalinin, who was shouted off the platform when he tried to speak. The assembly adopted the resolutions unanimously, and elected a Revolutionary Committee chaired by Petrichenko. When Pavel Vasiliev (chairman of the Kronstadt Soviet) and Nikolai Kuzmin (Political Commissar of the Baltic Fleet) threatened the committee with retribution the next day, they were arrested and imprisoned. Squads of sailors established control over Kronstadt, under the slogan All power to the Soviets, and not the parties.
The discontent had grown into full rebellion. When Kalinin reported back to Lenin and Zinoviev, their response was to isolate the island, order a press blackout, and organize special shipments of clothing, shoes, and meat into Petrograd. In an ultimatum issued on March 5, they branded the insurgents as puppets of the White Army. Lev Trotsky was sent to Petrograd to organize the armed response. He assembled as many loyal troops as he could under the command of Mikhail Tukhachevskii, and on March 7 began the bombardment of the island by the great guns of Petrograd. Over the next ten days three bloody assaults were launched against the fortress. Troops marching across the ice were slaughtered, but they gradually depleted the strength and supplies of the rebels. Though the government forces lost hundreds of dead and thousands of wounded, they numbered about 45,000 troops by March 16, when the final assault was launched. Clad in white snow capes, and bolstered by hundreds of volunteer delegates from the Tenth Party Congress then proceeding in Moscow, the troops attacked by night from three directions and forced their way into the city. Vicious fighting ensued throughout the city, and by March 18, the revolt was crushed. Many rebels escaped across the ice into Finland; many were killed in the fighting, and many who survived were executed or sent to prison camps.
The short-lived uprising had a deep if ambivalent impact on Soviet rule. While it was still in progress, the government announced the abolition of grain requisitions, replacing them with a tax in kind. It is widely assumed that the rebellion inspired Lenin and the regime to announce the New Economic Policy, which answered some of the Kronstadt demands. Liberalization of the economy was not matched by liberalization in the political sphere. The Tenth Congress saw the Workers' Opposition condemned and ordered to disperse in a move that many consider a harbinger of Stalin's dictatorship. Russian anarchists and their Western allies, such as the American Alexander Berkman, correctly saw the party reaction as a decisive moment in their history, though they were not fully justified in considering the rebellion part of their own tradition.
Permanent revolution is a term within Marxist theory, established in usage by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels by at least 1850 but which has since become most closely associated with Leon Trotsky. The use of the term by different theorists is not identical. Marx used it to describe the strategy of a revolutionary class to continue to pursue its class interests independently and without compromise, despite overtures for political alliances, and despite the political dominance of opposing sections of society.
Trotsky put forward his conception of 'permanent revolution' as an explanation of how socialist revolutions could occur in societies that had not achieved advanced capitalism. Part of his theory is the impossibility of 'socialism in one country' - a view also held by Marx, but not integrated into his conception of permanent revolution. Trotsky's theory also argues, first, that the bourgeoisie in late-developing capitalist countries are incapable of developing the productive forces in such a manner as to achieve the sort of advanced capitalism which will fully develop an industrial proletariat. Second, that the proletariat can and must, therefore, seize social, economic and political power, leading an alliance with the peasantry.
The very first politburo was created in Russia by the Bolshevik Party in 1917 to provide strong and continuous leadership during the Russian Revolution occurring during the same year.
In Marxist-Leninist states, the party is seen as "the vanguard of the people" and from that legitimizes itself to lead the state. In that way, the party officials in the politburo informally lead the state.
In the Soviet Union for example, the General Secretary of the Communist Party did not necessarily hold a state office like president or prime minister to effectively control the system of government. Instead, party members answerable to or controlled by the people held these posts, often as honorific posts as a reward for their long years of service to the people's party. On other occasions, having governed as General Secretary, the party leader might assume a state office in addition. For example, Mikhail Gorbachev initially did not hold the presidency of the Soviet Union, that office being given as an honour to former Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko. Joseph Stalin ruled the Soviet Union for well over a decade before assuming the governmental position of Premier of the Soviet Union during World War II.
Officially, the Party Congress elects a Central Committee which, in turn, elects the politburo and General Secretary in a process termed democratic centralism. Thus, the politburo was theoretically responsible to the Central Committee. Under Stalin this model was reversed, and it was the General Secretary who determined the composition of the Politburo and Central Committee. This tendency decreased to some extent after Stalin's death, though in practice the Politburo remained a self-perpetuating body whose decisions de facto had the force of law.
was a Russian Bolshevik revolutionary, Soviet politician and prolific author on revolutionary theory.
As a young man, he spent six years in exile, working closely with fellow-exiles Lenin and Trotsky. After the revolution of February 1917, he returned to Moscow, where his Bolshevik credentials earned him a high rank in the party, and after the October revolution, he became editor of the party newspaper Pravda.
Within the bitterly divided Bolsheviks, his gradual move to the right, as a defender of the New Economic Policy (NEP), positioned him favourably as Stalin's chief ally, and together they ousted Trotsky, Zinoviev and Kamenev from the party leadership. From 1926 to 1929, Bukharin enjoyed great power as General Secretary of Comintern's executive committee. But Stalin's decision to proceed with collectivisation drove the two men apart, and Bukharin was expelled from the Politburo.
When the purges began in 1936, Stalin looked for any pretext to liquidate his former allies and rivals for power, and some of Bukharin's letters, conversations and tapped phone-calls indicated disloyalty. Arrested in February 1937, he was charged with conspiring to overthrow the Soviet state and executed in March 1938, after a trial that alienated many Western communist sympathisers.
The Secretariat of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) was the administrative arm of the Communist Party. Initially a handful of party workers, the Secretariat evolved into a powerful bureaucracy with oversight of the entire Soviet political system and economy. Although the size of the Secretariat was modest in comparison to the giant governmental bureaucracy, its power was not. It was the apparat and those who worked in the Secretariat were the apparatchiki. Headed by the General (or First) Secretary and the other Secretaries of the Central Committee of the CPSU, the Secretariat became the body that ensured that Soviet political and economic organs followed party policy. Josef Stalin was responsible for building the Secretariat, and Nikita Khrushchev was responsible for reaffirming and renewing its power. Its influence diminished only under Mikail Gorbachev, who in his final years, turned to the power of the Presidency and a Presidential Cabinet of Ministers, which was created in 1990.
At the height of its power, the Secretariat headed by its powerful General Secretary determined the agenda of the Politburo and the Central Committee. Attention usually focused on the General Secretary, and to a lesser degree, the dozen or so Secretaries who worked with him, rather than the larger bureaucracy that constituted the Secretariat.
The Living Church (Russian: Живая Церковь), also called Renovationist Church (обновленческая церковь) or Renovationism (обновленчество; from обновление 'renovation, renewal'; official name Orthodox Russian Church, Православная Российская Церковь, later Orthodox Church in USSR, Православная Церковь в СССР) was a schism in the Russian Orthodox Church in 1922-1946. Originally begun as a "grass-roots" movement among the Russian clergy for the reformation of the Church, it was quickly corrupted by the support of the Soviet secret services (CheKa, then GPU, NKVD), who had hoped to split and weaken the Russian Church by instigating schismatic movements within it. The beginning of actual schism is usually considered to be in May 1922, when a group of "Renovationist" clergy laid claims to higher ecclesiastical authority in the Russian Church. The movement is considered to have ended with the death of its leader, Alexander Vvedensky, in 1946.
While the entire movement is often known as the Living Church, this was specifically the name of just one of the groups that comprised the larger Renovationist movement. By the time of the "Moscow Council" of 1923, three major groups had formed within the movement, representing different tendencies within Russian Renovationism: 1) The Living Church of Fr. Vladimir Krasnitsky (1880-1936), lobbied for the interests of married clergy; 2) the Union of the Communities of the Ancient Apostolic Church (Союз общин древнеапостольской церкви - SODATs) of Fr. Alexander Vvedensky; and 3) the Union for the Renewal of the Church (Союз церковного возрождения) - the group of bishop Antonin (Granovsky), whose interest was in liturgical reform; and also several minor groups.
was the army and the air force of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, which after 1922 was called the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The army was established immediately after the 1917 October Revolution (Red October or Bolshevik Revolution); in which the Bolsheviks raised an army during the to oppose the military confederations (especially the combined groups summarized under the preamble White Army) of their adversaries, during the Russian Civil War.
Lenin and his closest comrades believed that one of the characteristic features of modern "bourgeois" states, a standing army, was undesirable and inappropriate for the Workers' and Peasants' Republic over which they presided. Thus, even as negotiations with the Central Powers were underway at Brest Litovsk, the old Imperial Russian Army was being dismantled. At the same time, however, it became apparent that the rag-tag Red Guard units and elements of the imperial army who had gone over the side of the Bolsheviks were quite inadequate to the task of defending the new government against external foes. Thus, on January 15, 1918 Sovnarkom decreed the formation of the Worker-Peasant Red Army, to consist of volunteers from among "the most class-conscious and organized elements of the toiling masses."
The architect of the Red Army's formation was Trotsky who was appointed People's Commissar for the Army and Navy in March 1918 and remained in that position until 1925. Assisted by General M.D. Bonch-Bruevich, a former Imperial Guard officer who served as head of the new Soviet Supreme Military Council, Trotsky assiduously recruited and defended the use of former tsarist officers, euphemistically known as "military specialists." While few officers identified with Soviet power, many were willing to lend their services in the defense of Russia against foreign (initially German and Austro-Hungarian) forces. The introduction of politically reliable military commissars in April 1918 helped both to ensure the loyalty of the military commanders and to overcome resistance from rank-and-file soldiers to their commands. Abandoning the principle of a volunteer army, the Soviet government also introduced in April universal military training (Vsevobuch). Local call-ups and later in the year a general mobilization of conscripts aged 18-25 followed. Despite draft evasions and defections to the emerging White armies, the Red Army contained about 700,000 soldiers by the end of 1918. A year later its strength stood at nearly three million.
During the civil war, the Red Army saw action on a wide variety of fronts, mostly in the south and east. Relying heavily on the Imperial Army's arsenals of weapons and drawing on food supplies and horses from the interior, it vastly outnumbered its foes. The Red Army's soldiers, overwhelmingly peasant in origin, received pay but more importantly, their families were guaranteed rations and assistance with farm work. This, plus literacy and political education classes, served to limit desertions and forge an esprit de corps that carried over into the years after the civil war. The army's uniform, the long overcoat that overlapped at the front and the pointed cloth cap with red-star badge, were reminiscent of Muscovite-era warriors' garb and proved to be among the civil war's most enduring symbols.
The Russian Provisional Government was a provisional government of the Russian Republic immediately following the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II (March 15, 1917). The government replaced the institution of the Council of Ministers of Russia, members of which after the February Revolution presided in the Chief Office of Admiralty. The intention of the provisional government was the organization of elections to the Russian Constituent Assembly and its convention. The government was initially composed of the Kadet coalition led by Prince Georgy Lvov, which was replaced by the Socialist coalition led by Alexander Kerensky.
On September 16, 1917, the country's legislature (the Duma) was officially dissolved by the newly created Directorate and the country was officially declared the Russian Republic (Russian: Российская республика, translit. Rossiyskaya respublika), even though the state status as such occurred with the fall of monarchy (Tsar's abdication). The provisional government lasted approximately eight months, and ceased to exist when the Bolsheviks took over after the October Revolution
The Provisional Government was formed in Petrograd by the Provisional Committee of the State Duma and was led first by Prince Georgy Lvov and then by Alexander Kerensky. At the same time the Russian Emperor Nicholas II abdicated in favor of the Grand Duke Michael who agreed that he would accept after the decision of Russian Constituent Assembly. The Provisional Government was unable to make decisive policy decisions due to political factionalism and a breakdown of state structures. This weakness left the government open to strong challenges from both the right and the left. The Provisional Government's chief adversary on the left was the Petrograd Soviet, which tentatively cooperated with the government at first, but then gradually gained control of the army, factories, and railways. The period of competition for authority ended in late October 1917, when Bolsheviks routed the ministers of the Provisional Government in the events known as the October Revolution, and placed power in the hands of the soviets, or "workers' councils," which they largely controlled.
When the authority of the Tsar's government began disintegrating after the February Revolution of 1917, two rival institutions, the Duma and the Petrograd Soviet, competed for power. Tsar Nicholas II abdicated on March 2 (Julian calendar) and nominated his brother, Grand Duke Michael as the next tsar. Grand Duke Michael did not want to take the poisoned chalice and deferred acceptance of imperial power the next day. Legal authorization for the transfer of power was given by a proclamation signed by Grand Duke Michael. The Provisional Government was expected to rule until the Constituent Assembly later determined the form of government in Russia. The Provisional Government was designed to set up elections to the Assembly while maintaining essential government services, but its power was effectively limited by the Petrograd Soviet's growing authority.
Full and immediate amnesty on all issues political and religious, including: terrorist acts, military uprisings, and agrarian crimes etc.
Freedom of word, press, unions, assemblies, and strikes with spread of political freedoms to military servicemen within the restrictions allowed by military-technical conditions.
Abolition of all hereditary, religious, and national class restrictions.
Immediate preparations for the convocation on basis of universal, equal, secret, and direct vote for the Constituent Assembly which will determine the form of government and the constitution.
Replacement of the police with a public militsiya and its elected chairmanship subordinated to the local authorities.
Elections to the authorities of local self-government on basis of universal, direct, equal, and secret vote.
Non-disarmament and non-withdrawal out of Petrograd the military units participating in the revolution movement.
Under preservation of strict discipline in ranks and performing a military service - elimination of all restrictions for soldiers in the use of public rights granted to all other citizens.
The Socialist Revolutionary Party, or Party of Socialists Revolutionaries, (the SRs; Russian: Партия социалистов-революционеров (ПСР), эсеры) was a major political party in early 20th century Russia and a key player in the Russian Revolution. After the February Revolution of 1917 it shared power with other liberal and democratic socialist forces within the Russian Provisional Government. In November 1917, it won a plurality of the national vote in Russia's first-ever democratic elections (to the Russian Constituent Assembly), but soon split into pro-Bolshevik and anti-Bolshevik factions. The faction of this party that remained loyal to Alexander Kerensky was defeated and destroyed by the Bolsheviks in the course of the Russian Civil War and subsequent persecution.
The party's ideology was built upon the philosophical foundation of Russia's narodnik-Populist movement of the 1860s-70s and its worldview developed primarily by Alexander Herzen and Pyotr Lavrov. After a period of decline and marginalization in the 1880s, the Populist/narodnik school of thought about social change in Russia was revived and substantially modified by a group of writers and activists known as "neonarodniki" (neo-Populists), particularly Viktor Chernov. Their main innovation was a renewed dialogue with Marxism and integration of some of the key Marxist concepts into their thinking and practice. In this way, with the economic spurt and industrialization in Russia in the 1890s, they attempted to broaden their appeal in order to attract the rapidly growing urban workforce to their traditionally peasant-oriented programme. The intention was to widen the concept of the 'people' so that it encompassed all elements in the society that were opposed to the Tsarist regime.
The Socialist Revolutionary Party was established in 1902 out of the Northern Union of Socialist Revolutionaries (founded in 1896), bringing together numerous local socialist-revolutionary groups which had been established in the 1890s, most notably Workers' Party of Political Liberation of Russia created by Catherine Breshkovsky and Grigory Gershuni in 1899. Victor Chernov, the editor of the first party organ, Revolutsionnaya Rossiya (Revolutionary Russia), emerged as the primary party theorist. Later party periodicals included Znamia Truda (Labor's Banner), Delo Naroda (People's Cause), and Volia Naroda (People's Will). Gershuni, Breshkovsky, AA Argunov, ND Avksentiev, MR Gots, Mark Natanson, NI Rakitnikov (Maksimov), Vadim Rudnev, NS Rusanov, IA Rubanovich, and Boris Savinkov were among the party's leaders.
The party's program was both democratic socialist and agrarian socialist in nature; it garnered much support amongst Russia's rural peasantry, who in particular supported their program of land-socialization as opposed to the Bolshevik programme of land-nationalisation—division of land to peasant tenants rather than collectivization in state management. Their policy platform differed from that of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Parties — both Bolshevik and Menshevik — in that it was not officially Marxist (though some of its ideologues considered themselves such); the SRs believed that the 'labouring peasantry', as well as the industrial proletariat, would be the revolutionary class in Russia. Whereas Russian SDs defined class membership in terms of ownership of the means of production, Chernov and other SR theorists defined class membership in terms of extraction of surplus value from labour. On the first definition, small-holding subsistence farmers who do not employ wage labour are, as owners of their land, members of the petty bourgeoisie; on the second definition, they can be grouped with all who provide, rather than purchase, labour-power, and hence with the proletariat as part of the 'labouring class'. Chernov nevertheless considered the proletariat the 'vanguard', with the peasantry forming the 'main body' of the revolutionary army.
Kampf un kempfer - a Yiddish pamphlet published by the PSR exile branch in London 1904.
The party played an active role in the Revolution of 1905, and in the Moscow and St. Petersburg Soviets. Although the party officially boycotted the first State Duma in 1906, 34 SRs were elected, while 37 were elected to the second Duma in 1907; the party boycotted both the third and fourth Dumas in 1907-1917. In this period, party membership drastically declined, and most of its leaders emigrated from Russia.
A distinctive feature of party tactics in its early period (until about 1909) was its heavy reliance upon assassinations of individual government officials. These tactics (inherited from SRs' predecessor in the Populist movement, People's Will, a conspiratorial organization of the 1880s) were intended to embolden the "masses" and to intimidate ("terrorize") the Tsarist government into political concessions. The SR Combat Organization, responsible for assassinating government officials, was initially led by Gershuni and operated separately from the party so as not to jeopardize its political actions. SRCO agents assassinated two Ministers of the Interior, Dmitry Sipyagin and V. K. von Plehve, Grand Duke Sergei Aleksandrovich, the Governor of Ufa N. M. Bogdanovich, and many other high-ranking officials.The February Revolution allowed the SRs to return to an active political role. Party leaders, including Chernov, were now able to return to Russia. They played a major role in the formation and leadership of the Soviets, albeit in most cases playing second fiddle to the Mensheviks. One member, Alexander Kerensky, joined the Provisional Government in March 1917 as Minister of Justice, eventually becoming the head of a coalition socialist-liberal government in July 1917, although his connection with the party was rather tenuous. (He had served in the Duma with the Trudoviks, breakaway SRs that defied the party's refusal to participate in the Duma.)
After the fall of the first coalition in April-May 1917 and the reshuffling of the Provisional Government, the party played a larger role. Its key government official at the time was Chernov who joined the government as Minister of Agriculture. He also tried to play a larger role, particularly in foreign affairs, but soon found himself marginalized and his proposals of far-reaching agrarian reform blocked by more conservative members of the government. After the failed Bolshevik uprising of July 1917, Chernov found himself on the defensive as allegedly soft on the Bolsheviks and was excluded from the revamped coalition in August 1917. The party was now represented in the government by Nikolai Avksentyev, a right-wing defensist, as Minister of the Interior.
This weakening of the party's position intensified the growing divide within it between supporters of the coalition with the Mensheviks and those inclined toward more resolute, unilateral action. In August 1917, Maria Spiridonova, leader of the Left SRs, advocated scuttling the coalition and forming an SR-only government, but was not supported by Chernov and his followers. This spurred the formation of the left-wing faction and its growing support for cooperation with the Bolsheviks. The Left SRs believed that Russia should withdraw immediately from World War I, and they were frustrated that the Provisional Government wanted to postpone addressing the land question until after the convocation of the Russian Constituent Assembly instead of immediately confiscating the land from the landowners and redistributing it to the peasants.
Left SRs and Bolsheviks referred to the mainstream SR party as the "Right SR party" whereas mainstream SRs referred to the party as just "SR" and reserved the term "Right SR" for the rightwing faction of the party which was led by Breshkovsky and Avksentev. The primary issues motivating the split were the war and the redistribution of land.
At the Second Congress of Soviets on October 25, 1917, when the Bolsheviks proclaimed the deposition of the Provisional government, the split within the SR party became final. The Left SR stayed at the Congress and were elected to the permanent VTsIK executive (while initially refusing to join the Bolshevik government) while the mainstream SR and their Menshevik allies walked out of the Congress. In late November, the Left SR joined the Bolshevik government, obtaining three ministries.
After the October Revolution
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In the election to the Russian Constituent Assembly held two weeks after the Bolsheviks took power, the party still proved to be by far the most popular party across the country, gaining 58% of the popular vote as opposed to the Bolsheviks' 25%. However, in January 1918 the Bolsheviks disbanded the Assembly and thereafter the SRs became of less political significance. The Left SRs became the coalition partner of the Bolsheviks in the Soviet government, although they resigned their positions after the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was signed. A few Left SRs like Yakov Grigorevich Blumkin joined the Communist Party.
Dissatisfied with the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, some Left SRs assassinated the German ambassador to Russia, Count Wilhelm Mirbach. In 1918 they attempted a "Third Russian Revolution" against the Bolsheviks, which failed, leading to the arrest, imprisonment, exile, and execution of party leaders and members. In response, some SRs turned once again to violence. A former SR, Fanny Kaplan, tried to assassinate Lenin on August 30, 1918. Many SRs fought for the Whites or Greens in the Russian Civil War alongside some Mensheviks and other banned moderate socialist elements. The Tambov Rebellion against the Bolsheviks was led by an SR, Aleksandr Antonov. However, after Admiral Kolchak was installed as "Supreme Leader," of the White Movement in November 1918, he expelled all Marxists from the ranks. As a result, many SRs placed their organization behind White lines at the service of the Red Guards and the CHEKA. Later, many Left SRs became Communists.
Following Lenin's instructions, a show trial of SRs was held in Moscow in 1922, which led to protests by amongst others, Eugene Debs, Karl Kautsky, and Albert Einstein. Most of the defendants were found guilty, but did not plead guilty, unlike the defendants in the later show trials in the Soviet Union in the late 1920s and the 1930s.
The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was a peace treaty signed on March 3, 1918, between the new Bolshevik government of Russia (the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic) and the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and Turkey), that ended Russia's participation in World War I. The treaty was signed at Brest-Litovsk (now Brest, Belarus) (Брест, Беларусь), after two months of negotiations. The treaty was forced on the Bolshevik government by the threat of further advances by German and Austrian forces. According to the treaty, Soviet Russia defaulted on all Imperial Russia's commitments to the Triple Entente alliance.
In the treaty, Bolshevik Russia ceded the Baltic States to Germany, and its province of Kars Oblast in the south Caucasus to the Ottoman Empire. It also recognized the independence of Ukraine. Russia also agreed to pay six billion German gold mark in reparations. Historian Spencer Tucker says, "The German General Staff had formulated extraordinarily harsh terms that shocked even the German negotiator." Congress Poland was not mentioned in the treaty, as Germans refused to recognize the existence of any Polish representatives, which in turn led to Polish protests. When Germans later complained that the Treaty of Versailles of 1919 was too harsh on them, the Allies (and historians favorable to the Allies) responded that it was more benign than Brest-Litovsk. Under the treaty, the Baltic states were meant to become German vassal states under German princelings.
The treaty was practically obsolete by November 1918, when Germany in effect surrendered to the Allies. However, it did provide some relief to the Bolsheviks, already fighting the Russian Civil War, by renouncing Russia's claims on Poland, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Belarus, Ukraine and Lithuania.
12 April 1927, sometimes called the April 12 Incident, was the violent suppression of Communist Party organizations in Shanghai by the military forces of Chiang Kai-shek and conservative factions in the Kuomintang (Chinese Nationalist Party, or KMT). Following the incident, conservative KMT elements carried out a full-scale purge of Communists in all areas under their control, and even more violent suppressions occurred in cities such as Guangzhou and Changsha. The purge led to an open split between KMT left and right wings, with Chiang Kai-shek establishing himself as the leader of the right wing at Nanjing in opposition to the original left-wing KMT government led by Wang Jingwei in Wuhan.
By July 15, 1927, the Wuhan regime had also expelled the Communists in its ranks, effectively ending the KMT's four-year alliance with Soviet Russia and its cooperation with the Chinese Communist Party. During the remainder of 1927, the Communists launched several revolts in an attempt to win back power, marking the beginning of the Chinese Civil War. With the failure of the Guangzhou Uprising (December 11-13, 1927), the Chinese Communist Party's eclipse was complete; it was two decades before they were able to launch another major urban offensive. The incident was a key moment in the complex sequence of events that set the stage for the first ten years of the Nationalist government.
The Tenth Congress of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks) convened in Moscow on March 8, 1921 one week after the outbreak of the rebellion of soldiers and sailors at the naval base at Kronstadt. The rebellion and the strikes of workers in Petrograd that touched it off represented a major challenge to the legitimacy if not survival of Communist party rule, driving home to the eleven hundred assembled delegates the urgency of revising the party's policies. Before the Congress concluded on March 16, some three hundred of them had joined the effort to suppress the rebellion, ten of whom lost their lives in the process.
The resolutions adopted by the Congress were to have far-reaching consequences for both the Party and Soviet society. In preparation for the Congress, Lenin had written: "The lesson of Kronstadt: in politics -- the closing of the ranks (+ discipline) within the party ... in economics -- to satisfy as far as possible the middle peasantry." As far as "economics" was concerned, Lenin's report on "The Substitution of a Tax in Kind for the Surplus Grain Appropriation System" formed the basis for a resolution that essentially recognized peasants' right to engage in unrestricted trade and thereby paved the way of the New Economic Policy. As for discipline within the party, a resolution "On Party Unity" banning factions and another "On the Anarchist and Syndicalist Deviation in the Party," directed explicitly against the Workers' Opposition (the most trenchant of factional groups) were approved on the last day of the Congress. Later in the 1920s, the ban of factions would become a weapon in the hands of Stalin against his rivals for party leadership.
The Congress also debated three competing resolutions on the role of the trade unions in the Soviet state. While the overwhelming majority of delegates rejected Trotsky's scheme for transforming the unions into state organs, the resolution sponsored by the Workers' Opposition and calling for the placing of unions in charge of "the entire economic administration" also received scant support. Like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, the majority of delegates found Lenin's resolution characterizing the trade unions as a "school of communism" "just right."
War communism or military communism (Russian: Военный коммунизм) was the economic and political system that existed in Soviet Russia during the Russian Civil War, from 1918 to 1921. According to Soviet historiography, this policy was adopted by the Bolsheviks with the goal of keeping towns and the Red Army stocked with weapons and with food. The system had to be used because the ongoing war disrupted normal economic mechanisms and relations. "War communism", which began in June 1918, was enforced by the Supreme Economic Council, known as the Vesenkha. It ended on March 21, 1921, with the beginning of the New Economic Policy (NEP), which lasted until 1928.
nationalization of all industries and the introduction of strict centralized management
introduction of State control of foreign trade
strict discipline for workers, with strikes disallowed
imposition of obligatory labour duty onto non-working classes
prodrazvyorstka - requisition of agricultural surpluses (in excess of an absolute minimum) from peasants for centralized distribution among the remaining population
rationing of food and most commodities, with centralized distribution thereof in urban centers
private enterprise became illegal
the State introduced military-style control of railways
Because the Bolshevik government implemented all these measures in a time of civil war, they were far less coherent and coordinated in practice than they might appear on paper. Large areas of Russia remained outside the Bolsheviks' control, and poor communications meant that even those regions loyal to the Bolshevik government often had to act on their own, lacking any orders or central coordination from Moscow. It has long been debated[by whom?] whether "war communism" represented an actual economic policy in the proper sense of the phrase, or merely a set of measures intended to win the civil war.
The goals of the Bolsheviks in implementing war communism are a matter of controversy. Some commentators, including a number of Bolsheviks, have argued that its sole purpose was to win the war. Vladimir Lenin, for instance, said that "the confiscation of surpluses from the peasants was a measure with which we were saddled by the imperative conditions of war-time."  Other Bolsheviks, such as Yurii Larin, Lev Kritzman, Leonid Krasin and Nikolai Bukharin argued that it was a transitional step towards socialism. Commentators, such as the historian Richard Pipes, the philosopher Michael Polanyi, and the economists such as Paul Craig Roberts  or Sheldon L. Richman, have argued that War communism was actually an attempt immediately to eliminate private property, commodity production and market exchange, and in that way to implement communist economics, and that the Bolshevik leaders expected an immediate and large-scale increase in economic output. This view was also held by Nikolai Bukharin, who said that "We conceived War Communism as the universal, so to say 'normal' form of the economic policy of the victorious proletariat and not as being related to the war, that is, conforming to a definite state of the civil war".
War communism was largely successful at its primary purpose of aiding the Red Army in halting the advance of the White Army and reclaiming most of the territory of the former Russian Empire thereafter.
In the cities and surrounding countryside, the population experienced hardships as a result of the war. Peasants refused to co-operate in producing food. Workers began migrating from the cities to the countryside, where the chances to feed oneself were higher, thus further decreasing the possibility of in natura[clarification needed] exchange of industrial goods for food and worsening the plight of the remaining urban population. Between 1918 and 1920, Petrograd lost 72% of its population, whilst Moscow lost 53%.
There were also a series of workers' strikes and peasants' rebellions, such as the Tambov rebellion, all over the country. The turning point was the Kronstadt rebellion at the naval base in early March 1921. The rebellion had a startling effect on Lenin, because the Kronstadt sailors were considered by the Bolsheviks as the "reddest of the reds". According to David Christian, the Cheka (the state secret police created by Communist Party officials at the time) reported 118 separate peasant uprisings alone in February 1921.
Christian, in his book "Imperial and Soviet Russia", also says this about the state of Russia in 1921 after years of War communism:
A government claiming to represent the people now found itself on the verge of being overthrown by that same working class. The crisis had undermined the loyalty of the villages, the towns and finally sections of the army. It was fully as serious as the crises faced by the tsarist government in 1905 and February 1917.
A black market emerged in Russia, despite the threat of the martial law against profiteering. The ruble collapsed and barter increasingly replaced money as a medium of exchange and, by 1921, heavy industry had fallen to output levels of 20% of those in 1913. 90% of all wages were paid with goods rather than money. 70% of locomotives were in need of repair and the food requisitioning, combined with the effects of seven years of war and a severe drought, contributed to a famine that caused between 3 and 10 million deaths. Coal production decreased from 27.5 million tons (1913) to 7 million tons (1920), while overall factory production also declined from 10,000 million roubles to 1,000 million roubles. According to the noted historian David Christian, the grain harvest was also slashed from 80.1 million tons (1913) to 46.5 million tons (1920).
The cult of Lenin, a fusion of political and religious ritual, was the answer. Inspired by both genuine reverence and a political desire to mobilize the masses around a potent symbol, the Politbiuro decided -- against Lenin's own wishes and those of his family -- to embalm his body and place it in a sarcophagus inside a mausoleum for public viewing. The mausoleum, designed by A. V. Shchusev as a cube-like structure of gleaming red granite, was built on Red Square abutting onto the Kremlin wall. Here, the most prominent party, military and government leaders would stand to view parades passing by on the anniversary of the October Revolution, May Day and other special occasions. Images of Lenin's stern visage soon appeared everywhere throughout the Soviet Union in stone and metal, on canvas, and in print. Lenin Corners, analogous to the icon corners of Orthodoxy, became a fixture of nearly every Soviet institution, and Lenin's name graced thousands of collective and state farms, libraries, newspapers, streets and cities. Among the latter was the birthplace of the October Revolution which assumed the name of Leningrad on January 26, 1924.
Within the party itself, Lenin was revered almost as a Christ-like figure. The slogan "Lenin lived, Lenin lives, Lenin will live" typified the discourse of revolutionary immortality. In the struggle to assume Lenin's mantle, Zinoviev, Stalin and Trotsky sought to enhance their own credentials and cast aspersions on their rivals by quoting selectively from Lenin's massive oeuvres even while they invoked "Leninism" as a coherent body of doctrine. Thus, Stalin promoted "socialism in one country" as consistent with Lenin's outlook, contrasting it with Trotsky's pre-revolutionary theory of "permanent revolution." For his part, Trotsky sought to prove his loyalty to Lenin as well as his own historic role as leader of the October Revolution. Each, in effect, invented his own Lenin to suit his purposes.
was the first of a succession of Soviet state security organizations. It was created on December 20, 1917, after a decree issued by Vladimir Lenin, and was subsequently led by Felix Dzerzhinsky, a Polish aristocrat turned communist. By late 1918, hundreds of Cheka committees had been created in various cities, at multiple levels including: oblast, guberniya ("Gubcheks"), raion, uyezd, and volost Chekas, with Raion and Volost Extraordinary Commissioners. Many thousands of dissidents, deserters, or other people were arrested, tortured or executed by various Cheka groups. After 1922, Cheka groups underwent a series of reorganizations, with the NKVD, into bodies whose members continued to be referred to as "Chekisty" (Chekists) into the late 1980s.
From its founding, being the military and security arm of the Bolshevik communist party, the Cheka was instrumental in the Red Terror. In 1921 the Troops for the Internal Defense of the Republic (a branch of the Cheka) numbered at least 200,000. These troops policed labor camps; ran the Gulag system; conducted requisitions of food; subjected political opponents to torture and summary execution; and put down rebellions and riots by workers or peasants, and mutinies in the desertion-plagued Red Army.
The order was issued following the February Revolution in response to actions taken the day before by the Provisional Committee of the State Duma, headed by Mikhail Vladimirovich Rodzianko. On February 28, the Provisional Committee, acting as a government following the disintegration of Tsarist authority in Petrograd and fearing that the soldiers who had gone over to the revolution on February 26-27 (O.S.) without their officers (who had generally fled) constituted a potentially uncontrollable mob that might threaten the Duma, issued an order through the Military Commission of the Duma calling on the soldiers to return to their barracks and to obey their officers. The soldiers were skeptical of this order; for one thing, they saw Rodzianko as too close to the Tsar (he had been Chairman of the Fourth Duma, which was seen as quite supportive of the Tsar). Some soldiers perhaps feared that in sending them back to their barracks, he was attempting to quash the Revolution, though most were concerned that in being sent back to the barracks they would be placed under their old commanders whose heavy-handedness had led them to mutiny on the 26th; thus their grievances would go unaddressed. In response, the Petrograd Soviet issued Order Number 1.
The order instructed soldiers and sailors to obey their officers and the Provisional Government only if their orders did not contradict the decrees of the Petrograd Soviet. It also called on units to elect representatives to the Soviet and for each unit to elect a committee which would run the unit. All weapons were to be handed over to these committees "and shall by no means be issued to the officers, not even at their insistence." The order also allowed soldiers to dispense with standing to attention and saluting when off duty, although while on duty strict military discipline was to be maintained. Officers were no longer to be addressed as "Your Excellency" but rather as "Sir" ("Gospodin", in Russian). Soldiers of all ranks were to be addressed formally (with "vy" instead of "ty").
was the last Emperor of Russia, Grand Duke of Finland, and titular King of Poland. His official short title was Nicholas II, Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias. Like other Russian Emperors he is commonly known by the monarchical title Tsar (though Russia formally ended the Tsardom in 1721). He is known as Saint Nicholas the Passion-Bearer by the Russian Orthodox Church and has been referred to as Saint Nicholas the Martyr.
Nicholas II ruled from 1 November 1894 until his forced abdication on 15 March 1917. His reign saw Imperial Russia go from being one of the foremost great powers of the world to economic and military collapse. Enemies nicknamed him Nicholas the Bloody because of the Khodynka Tragedy, the anti-Semitic pogroms, Bloody Sunday, his violent suppression of the 1905 Revolution, his execution of political opponents, and his pursuit of military campaigns on an unprecedented scale.
Under his rule, Russia was humiliatingly defeated in the Russo-Japanese War, which saw the almost total annihilation of the Russian Baltic Fleet at the Battle of Tsushima. The Anglo-Russian Entente, designed to counter German attempts to gain influence in the Middle East, ended the Great Game between Russia and the United Kingdom. As head of state, Nicholas approved the Russian mobilisation of August 1914, which marked the beginning of Russia's involvement in the First World War, a war in which 3.3 million Russians were killed. The Imperial Army's severe losses and the High Command's incompetent handling of the war, along with other policies directed by Nicholas during his reign, are often cited as the leading causes of the fall of the Romanov dynasty.
Nicholas II abdicated following the February Revolution of 1917 during which he and his family were imprisoned first in the Alexander Palace at Tsarskoye Selo, then later in the Governor's Mansion in Tobolsk, and finally at the Ipatiev House in Yekaterinburg. In the spring of 1918, Nicholas was handed over to the local Ural soviet by commissar Vasili Yakovlev who was then presented with a written receipt as Nicholas was formally handed over like a parcel. Nicholas II; his wife, Alexandra Feodorovna; his son, Alexei Nikolaevich; his four daughters, Olga Nikolaevna, Tatiana Nikolaevna, Maria Nikolaevna and Anastasia Nikolaevna; the family's medical doctor, Evgeny Botkin; the Emperor's footman, Alexei Trupp; the Empress' maidservant, Anna Demidova; and the family's cook, Ivan Kharitonov, were executed in the same room by the Bolsheviks on the night of 16/17 July 1918. This led to the canonisation of Nicholas II, his wife the Empress Alexandra and their children as passion bearers, a category used to identify believers who, in imitation of Christ, endured suffering and death at the hands of political enemies, on 15 August 2000 by the Russian Orthodox Church within Russia and, in 1981, as martyrs by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, located in New York City.
was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and theorist, Soviet politician, and the founder and first leader of the Red Army.
Trotsky was initially a supporter of the Menshevik Internationalists faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party. He joined the Bolsheviks immediately prior to the 1917 October Revolution, and eventually became a leader within the Party. During the early days of the Soviet Union, he served first as People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs and later as the founder and commander of the Red Army as People's Commissar of Military and Naval Affairs. He was a major figure in the Bolshevik victory in the Russian Civil War (1918-23). He was also among the first members of the Politburo.
After leading a failed struggle of the Left Opposition against the policies and rise of Joseph Stalin in the 1920s and the increasing role of bureaucracy in the Soviet Union, Trotsky was successively removed from power in 1927, expelled from the Communist Party, and finally deported from the Soviet Union in 1929. As the head of the Fourth International, Trotsky continued in exile in Mexico to oppose the Stalinist bureaucracy in the Soviet Union. An early advocate of Red Army intervention against European fascism, in the late 1930s, Trotsky opposed Stalin's non-aggression pact with Adolf Hitler. He was assassinated on Stalin's orders in Mexico, by Ramón Mercader, a Spanish-born Soviet agent in August 1940. Most of his family members who stayed in USSR were arrested and executed.
Trotsky's ideas were the basis of Trotskyism, a major school of Marxist thought that is opposed to the theories of Stalinism. He was one of the few Soviet political figures who were not rehabilitated by the government under Nikita Khrushchev in the 1950s. In the late 1980s, his books were released for publication in the Soviet Union.
"the first great war of the 20th century." It grew out of rival imperial ambitions of the Russian Empire and the Empire of Japan over Manchuria and Korea. The major theatres of operations were Southern Manchuria, specifically the area around the Liaodong Peninsula and Mukden; and the seas around Korea, Japan, and the Yellow Sea.
Russia sought a warm water port on the Pacific Ocean, for their navy as well as for maritime trade. Vladivostok was only operational during the summer season, but Port Arthur would be operational all year. From the end of the First Sino-Japanese War and 1903, negotiations between Russia and Japan had proved impractical. Russia had demonstrated an expansionist policy in Manchuria dating back to the reign of Ivan the Terrible in the 16th century. Japan offered to recognize Russian dominance in Manchuria in exchange for recognition of Korea as a Japanese sphere of influence. Russia refused this, and demanded that Korea north of the 39th parallel be a neutral buffer zone between Russia and Japan. The Japanese government perceived a Russian threat to its strategic interests and chose to go to war. After the negotiations had broken down in 1904, the Japanese Navy opened hostilities by attacking the Russian eastern fleet at Port Arthur, a naval base in the Liaotung province leased to Russia by China.
The resulting campaigns, in which the Japanese military attained complete victory over the Russian forces arrayed against them, were unexpected by world observers. Over time, the consequences of these battles would transform the balance of power in East Asia, resulting in a reassessment of Japan's recent entry onto the world stage. Scholars today debate the historical significance of the Russo-Japanese War. The Russo-Japanese has been referred to by some scholars of history as just a regional conflict, while others associate it as the precursor for the type of warfare that took place during World War II.
Russia would suffer numerous defeats at the hands of Japan and would remain engaged in the war due in part to the will of the Tsar, Nicholas II. After faring poorly early into the war, Nicholas II, convinced that Russia would ultimately obtain victory in the war, chose to remain engaged in the war; at first, to await the outcomes of certain naval battles, and later on, upon realizing imminent defeat, it has been debated, to preserve the dignity of Russia by averting a "humiliating peace". The Russo-Japanese War would be concluded with the Treaty of Portsmouth, mediated by U.S President Theodore Roosevelt at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard on Seavey's Island, Kittery, Maine, while the delegates stayed in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
was a lawyer and major political leader before the Russian Revolutions of 1917 belonging to a moderate socialist party, called Trudoviks.
After the February Revolution Kerensky served as Minister of Justice in the democratic Russian Provisional Government. In May he became Minister of War. In July he became the second Prime Minister until it was overthrown by the Bolsheviks in the October Revolution When the February Revolution broke out in 1917, Kerensky was one of its most prominent leaders: he was a member of the Provisional Committee of the State Duma and was elected vice-chairman of the Petrograd Soviet, and simultaneously became the first Minister of Justice in the newly formed Provisional Government. Kerensky was heavily criticised by the military for his liberal policies, which included stripping officers of their mandates (handing overriding control to revolutionary inclined "soldier committees" instead), the abolition of the death penalty, and allowing various revolutionary agitators to be present at the front. Many officers jokingly referred to commander in chief Kerensky as "persuader in chief"
On 2 July 1917, the first coalition collapsed over the question of Ukraine's autonomy. Following July Days unrest in Petrograd and suppression of the Bolsheviks, Kerensky succeeded Prince Lvov as Russia's Prime Minister. Following the Kornilov Affair at the end of August and the resignation of the other ministers, he appointed himself Supreme Commander-in-Chief as well.
Kerensky's major challenge was that Russia was exhausted after three years of war, while the provisional government offered little motivation for a victory outside of continuing Russia's obligations towards its allies. Russia's continued involvement in the world war was not popular among the lower and middle classes and especially the soldiers. They had all believed that Russia would stop fighting when the Provisional Government took power, and now they felt deceived. Furthermore, Vladimir Lenin and his Bolshevik party were promising "peace, land, and bread" under a communist system. The army was disintegrating owing to a lack of discipline, leading to desertion in large numbers. By autumn 1917, an estimated two million men had unofficially left the army.
Kerensky and the other political leaders continued their obligation to Russia's allies by continuing
During the Kornilov Affair, Kerensky had distributed arms to the Petrograd workers, and by November most of these armed workers had gone over to the Bolsheviks. On 6-7 November 1917 the Bolsheviks launched the second Russian revolution of the year. Kerensky's government in Petrograd had almost no support in the city. Only one small force, a 137 soldier strong subdivision of 2nd company of the First Petrograd Women's Battalion, also known as The Women's Death Battalion, was willing to fight for the government against the Bolsheviks, as the battalion commander ordered the majority of the troops back to their encampment, but this force was overwhelmed by the numerically superior pro-Bolshevik forces and defeated and captured. It took less than 20 hours before the Bolsheviks had taken over the government.
The Mensheviks were a faction of the Russian socialist movement that emerged in 1904 after a dispute in the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party between Vladimir Lenin and Julius Martov, leading to the party splitting into two factions, one being the Mensheviks and the other being the Bolsheviks. The Mensheviks subscribed to an Orthodox Marxist view of social and economic development, believing that socialism could not be achieved in Russia due to its backwards economic conditions, and that Russia would first have to experience a bourgeois revolution and go through a capitalist stage of development before socialism was technically possible and before the working class was able to develop the necessary consciousness for a socialist revolution. The Mensheviks were thus opposed to the Bolshevik idea of aVanguard party and pursuit of socialist revolution in Russia. Mensheviks generally tended to be more moderate and were more positive towards the liberal opposition and the dominant peasant-based Socialist Revolutionary party. Lenin argued for a small party of professional revolutionaries with a large fringe of non-party sympathizers and supporters, whereas Martov believed it was better to have a large party of activists with broad representation. In 1906, at the 4th Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, a reunification was formally achieved. In contrast to the Second Congress, the Mensheviks were in the majority from start to finish; yet, Martov's definition of a party member, which had prevailed at the First Congress, was replaced by Lenin's. On the other hand, numerous disagreements regarding alliances and strategy emerged. The two factions kept their separate structures and continued to operate separately.
Just as before, both factions believed that Russia was not developed to a point at which socialism was possible and believed that the revolution for which they fought to overthrow theTsarist regime would be a bourgeois democratic revolution. Both believed that the working class had to contribute to this revolution. However, after 1905, the Mensheviks were more inclined to work with the liberal "bourgeois" democratic parties such as the Constitutional Democrats, because these would be the "natural" leaders of a bourgeois revolution.
In contrast, the Bolsheviks didn't believe that the Constitutional Democrats were capable of sufficiently radical struggle and tended to advocate alliances with peasant representatives and other radical socialist parties such as the Socialist Revolutionaries. In the event of a revolution, this was meant to lead to a dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry, which would carry the bourgeois revolution to the end. The Mensheviks came to argue for predominantly legal methods and trade union work, while the Bolsheviks favoured armed violence.
Some Mensheviks left the party after the defeat of 1905 and joined legal opposition organisations. After a while, Lenin's patience wore out with their compromising and in 1908 he called these Mensheviks "liquidationists".
In 1912, the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party went through its final split, with the Bolsheviks constituting the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (Bolsheviks) and the Mensheviks the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (Mensheviks).
The Menshevik faction split further in 1914 at the beginning of World War I. Most Mensheviks opposed the war, but a vocal minority supported it in terms of "national defense".
After the overthrow of the Romanov dynasty by the February Revolution in 1917, the Menshevik leadership led by Irakli Tsereteli demanded that the government pursue a "fair peace without annexations", but in the meantime supported the war effort under the slogan of "defense of the revolution". Along with the other major Russian socialist party, the Socialist Revolutionaries (эсеры), the Mensheviks led the emerging network of Soviets, notably the Petrograd Soviet in the capital, throughout most of 1917.
With the collapse of the monarchy, many social democrats viewed previous tactical differences between the Mensheviks and the Bolsheviks as a thing of the past and a number of local party organizations were merged. When Bolshevik leaders Lev Kamenev, Joseph Stalin andMatvei Muranov returned to Petrograd from Siberian exile in early March 1917 and assumed the leadership of the Bolshevik party, they began exploring the idea of a complete re-unification of Bolsheviks and Mensheviks at the national level, which Menshevik leaders were willing to consider. However, Lenin and his deputy Grigory Zinoviev returned to Russia from their Swiss exile on April 3, 1917 and re-asserted control of the Bolshevik party by late April 1917, taking it in a more radical, anti-war direction. They called for an immediate revolution and the transfer of all power to the Soviets, which made any re-unification impossible.
In March-April 1917 the Menshevik leadership conditionally supported the newly formed liberal Russian Provisional Government. After the collapse of the first Provisional Government on May 2, 1917 over the issue of annexations, Tsereteli convinced the Mensheviks to strengthen the government for the sake of "saving the revolution" and enter a socialist-liberal coalition with Socialist Revolutionaries and liberal Constitutional Democrats, which they did on May 4, 1917 (Old Style). With Martov's return from European exile in early May, the left wing of the party challenged the party's majority led by Tsereteli at the first post-revolutionary party conference on May 9, but the Right wing prevailed 44-11. From that point on, the Mensheviks had at least one representative in the Provisional Government until it was overthrown by the Bolsheviks during the October Revolution of 1917.
With the Mensheviks and the Bolsheviks clearly diverging, Russian Mensheviks and non-factional social democrats returning from European and American exile in spring-summer of 1917 were forced to take sides. Some re-joined the Mensheviks. Some, like Alexandra Kollontai, joined the Bolsheviks directly. A significant number, including Leon Trotsky andAdolf Joffe, joined the non-factional Petrograd-based anti-war group called Mezhraiontsy, which merged with the Bolsheviks in
This split in the party crippled the Mensheviks' popularity, and they received 3.2% of the vote during the Russian Constituent Assemblyelection in November 1917 compared to the Bolsheviks' 25 percent and the Socialist Revolutionaries' 57 percent. The Mensheviks got just 3.3% of the national vote, but in the Transcaucasus they got 30.2% of the vote. 41.7% of their support came from the Transcaucasus. InGeorgia c.75% voted for them. The right wing of the Menshevik party supported actions against the Bolsheviks, while the left wing, the majority of the Mensheviks at that point, supported the Left in the ensuing Russian Civil War. However, Martov's leftist Menshevik faction refused to break with the right wing of the party with the result that their press was sometimes banned and only intermittently available.The Mensheviks opposed war communism and in 1919 suggested an alternative programme. The Programme is interesting in that after the civil war was over, a large number of the proposals were incorporated into the Bolsheviks New Economic Policy. During World War I, some anti-war Mensheviks had formed a group called Menshevik-Internationalists (меньшевики-интернационалисты). They opposed war and 'social chauvinism', were active around the newspaper Novaya Zhizn and took part in the Mezhraiontsy formation. After July 1917 events in Russia, they broke with Menshevik majority that supported war. The Mensheviks-Internationalists became the hub of the Russian Social Democratic Workers' Party (of Internationalists) (РСДРП (интернационалистов)). In 1920, right-wing Mensheviks-Internationalists emigrated, some of them pursued anti-Bolshevik activities.[
During the revolutionary days the council tried to extend its jurisdiction nationwide as a rival power center to the Provisional Government creating what in the Soviet historiography is known as the Dvoyevlastiye (Dual power). Its committees were key components during theRussian Revolution and some of them lead up the armed revolt of October Revolution.
The soviet was established in March 1917 after the February Revolution as a representative body of the city's workers and soldiers, while the city already had its well established city council, the Saint Petersburg City Duma (Central Duma).
Before 1914, Petrograd was known as Saint Petersburg, and in 1905 the workers' soviet called the St Petersburg Soviet was created. But the main precursor to the 1917 Petrograd Soviet was the Central Workers' Group (Центральная Рабочая Группа, Tsentral'naya Rabochaya Gruppa), founded in November 1915 by the Mensheviks to sit between workers and the new Central Military-Industrial Committee in Petrograd. The group became increasingly radical as World War I progressed and the economic situation became worse, encouraging street demonstrations and issuing revolutionary proclamations.
On January 27, 1917 (all dates Old Style) the entire leadership of the Central Workers' Group was arrested and taken away to the Peter and Paul Fortress on the orders of Alexander Protopopov, the Minister of the Interior in Imperial Russia. They were freed by a crowd of disaffected soldiers on the morning of February 27, the beginning of the February Revolution, and the chairman convened a meeting to organize and elect a Soviet of Workers' Deputies that day.
That evening, between 50 and 300 people attended the meeting at the Tauride Palace. A provisional executive committee (Ispolkom), was chosen with Nikolay Chkheidze as head, and with mostly Menshevik deputies. (Chkheize was replaced by Irakli Tsereteli in late March). Izvestia was chosen as the official newspaper of the group. The following day, February 28, was the plenary session; elected representatives from factories and the military joined the soviet, and again moderates dominated. Non-representative voting and enthusiasm gave the Soviet almost 3,000 deputies in two weeks, of which the majority were soldiers. The meetings were chaotic, confused and unruly, little more than a stage for speechmakers. The party-based Ispolkom quickly took charge of actual decision-making.
The Workers' Opposition was led by Alexander Shlyapnikov, who was also chairman of the Russian Metalworkers' Union, and it consisted of trade union leaders and industrial administrators who had formerly been industrial workers. Alexandra Kollontai, the famous socialist feminist, was the group's mentor and advocate. Other prominent members included Sergei Medvedev and Mikhail Vladimirov (leaders of the Metalworkers' Union), Alexander Tolokontsev and Genrikh Bruno (artilleries industry leaders), Mikhail Chelyshev (a member of the Party Control Commission), Ivan Kutuzov (chairman of the Textileworkers' Union), Kirill Orlov (member of the Council of Military Industry and a participant in the 1905 mutiny on the Russian battleship Potemkin), and Aleksei Kiselyov (chairman of the Miners' Union). Yuri Lutovinov, a leader of the Metalworkers' Union and of the All-Russian Council of Trade Unions, sometimes spoke for the group, but sometimes held his own opinion.
The Workers' Opposition advocated the role of unionized workers in directing the economy at a time when Soviet government organs were running industry by dictat and trying to exclude trade unions from a participatory role. Specifically, the Workers' Opposition demanded that unionized workers (blue and white collar) should elect representatives to a vertical hierarchy of councils that would oversee the economy. At all levels, elected leaders would be responsible to those who had elected them and could be removed from below. The Workers' Opposition demanded that Russian Communist Party secretaries at all levels cease petty interference in the operations of trade unions and that trade unions should be reinforced with staff and supplies to allow them to carry out their work effectively. Leaders of the Workers' Opposition were not opposed to the employment of "bourgeois specialists" in the economy, but did oppose giving such individuals strong administrative powers, unchecked from below.
The Tenth Congress of the Russian Communist Party, in 1921, condemned the Workers' Opposition for factionalism, but adopted some of its proposals, including conducting a purge of the Party and organizing better supply of workers, to improve workers' living conditions. Several leaders of the Workers' Opposition, including Shlyapnikov, were elected to the Party Central Committee. Nevertheless, Party leaders subsequently undertook a campaign to subordinate trade unions to the Party and to harass and intimidate those who opposed this campaign.
End of the movement
Members of the former Workers' Opposition continued to advocate their views during the period of the New Economic Policy but increasingly became politically marginalized. Shlyapnikov and his supporters conducted discussions with Gavril Myasnikov's Workers Group, but unlike Myasnikov, were determined not to leave the ranks of the Communist Party. Some members of the Workers' Opposition, including Shlyapnikov and Kollontai, signed the "Letter of the Twenty-Two"  to the Comintern in 1922, protesting Russian Communist Party leaders' suppression of dissent within the Party. Shlyapnikov, Kollontai, and Sergei Medvedev narrowly escaped expulsion from the Russian Communist Party at the Party's Eleventh Congress in 1922. Kollontai subsequently became an important diplomat and Shlyapnikov turned to writing his memoirs.
The NEPmen were businesspeople in the young Soviet Union who took advantage of the opportunities for private trade and small-scale manufacturing created by the New Economic Policy (NEP). The NEP was a response to revolts against meager rations in the USSR during the early 1920s under Lenin's policy of War Communism. Vladimir Lenin responded by instituting the NEP, which encouraged private buying and selling, even to, as one official put it, "get rich".
These entrepreneurial activities, and their very existence, were an affront to the Communist Party and its goal of building socialism in the USSR. Yet, so long as state commercial and cooperative institutions were incapable of meeting the demand for goods and services, NEPmen were tolerated. As they gained a greater standard of living compared to their poor, working class counterparts, NEPmen became reviled, and stereotyped as greedy, and in some cases, Jewish.
By the early 1920s, NEPmen began to be taxed heavily. In 1925, these restrictions were reduced, affording NEPmen greater leeway in conducting commerce. This would not last for long, however. As Joseph Stalin consolidated power, he moved violently to end the New Economic Policy and put NEPmen out of business.
If socialism in the USSR was to develop out of NEP conditions and if industry, both civilian and military, was to be constructed in Russia with imported capital and foreign technology, then an extended period of respite from crises at home and abroad was a political necessity. Such crisis-free conditions were not in the offing, however. Within months of the resolutions "to catch up and surpass" and to seek agreements with the capitalist powers, there occurred what Trotsky called "the worst crisis since the revolution." It originated in Russia's international situation, and it did not subside until it had fully engulfed the economy and polity of the USSR.
The October Revolution could not change geography. Soviet Russia, like tsarist Russia, remained vulnerable to attack from Europe. From the Gulf of Finland to the Black Sea, Russia's frontier on the northwest and the west was 2,000 miles long and without natural barriers on which to anchor defensive preparations. The geographic problem was aggravated by a post-Civil War political situation that confronted the USSR with a chain of potential enemies in East-Central Europe. The key link in that chain was Poland, which had an army of a quarter of a million men, enjoyed favorable relations with Romania to its south, claimed a kind of diplomatic hegemony over the Baltic states to the north, and maintained a close alliance with a major European power, France. This political and geographic problem was in turn mediated by an ideology of inevitable conflict between the forces of imperialism and those of proletarian revolution. The result was a strategic doctrine that divided world politics into two camps, that rejected the possibility of a durable and stable peace between capitalist and socialist states, and that designated the leading imperialist country as the international headquarters at which anti-Soviet coalitions were designed and armed interventions planned.
a portmanteau of the Russian words "proletarskaya kultura" (proletarian culture), was an experimental Soviet artistic institution which arose in conjunction with the Russian Revolution of 1917. This organization, a federation of local cultural societies and avant-garde artists, was most prominent in the visual, literary, and dramatic fields. Proletkult aspired to radically modify existing artistic forms by creating a new, revolutionary working class aesthetic which drew its inspiration from the construction of modern industrial society in backward, agrarian Russia.
Although funded by the People's Commissariat for Education of Soviet Russia, the Proletkult organization sought autonomy from state control, a demand which brought it into conflict with the Communist Party hierarchy and the Soviet state bureaucracy. Some top party leaders, such as V.I. Lenin, sought to concentrate state funding on the basic education of the working class rather than on whimsical artistic endeavors. He and others also saw in Proletkult a hotbed of bourgeois intellectuals and potential political oppositionists.
At its peak in 1920, Proletkult had 84,000 members actively enrolled in about 300 local studios, clubs, and factory groups, with an additional 500,000 members participating in its activities on a more casual basis.
The Battle of Tsaritsyn was a military confrontation between Bolshevik forces and the White Army during the Russian Civil War. It was for control of the significant city and port on the Volga River in southwestern Russia. The battle resulted in a Bolshevik victory.
Stalin, Voroshilov and Shchadenko in the trenches of Tsaritsyn.
The battle started when White forces under Ataman Pyotr Krasnov laid siege to Tsaritsyn in the autumn of 1918, pushing back the Red Army defenders into areas surrounding the town on the west bank. The local Bolshevik leaders desperately called Moscow for reinforcements and arms, but received nothing other than orders to stand firm.
According to Soviet legend, the city was saved by the actions of the local chairman of the military committee, Joseph Stalin. Stalin urged his comrades to continue fighting and disobeyed direct orders from Moscow by recalling forces from the Caucasus, nicknamed Zhloba's 'Steel Division'. These forces were able to attack the White forces in the rear and defeat them, saving Tsaritsyn for the Bolsheviks. Three major engagements then developed around the city afterwards during the entire duration of the battle but were likewise less successful than the first one. Although a temporary takeover of the city by White general Anton Denikin's troops occurred in June 1919, Red Army forces under both Stalin and Voroshilov, this time aided by supplies and weapons that had recently arrived from Moscow, staged an all-out assault towards the city and retook it by January 1920. As a result, the defeated White Army, now reduced to mere numbers and in danger of destruction, then retreated towards the Crimean peninsula.
For these and later actions in the city of Tsaritsyn region, the city was renamed Stalingrad in 1925 to honor Stalin and his actions. About 17 years later the city would once again be a battlefield, this time for the decisive battle of the Eastern Front of World War II, the bloody Battle of Stalingrad. The city was renamed in 1961 to Volgograd.
was a group formed in the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks) in 1926 by Leon Trotsky, Lev Kamenev and Grigory Zinoviev in opposition to Joseph Stalin. It demanded, among other things, greater freedom of expression within the Party (in effect, lifting the Ban on Factions imposed by Lenin as a temporary measure[dubious - discuss] in 1921) and less bureaucracy. By this time, Stalin's supporters had already voted Trotsky out from the Politburo.
The grouping was proposed by the Group of 15, a small faction around Vladimir Smirnov which claimed that the Soviet Union was no longer a workers' state. They brought together Trotsky's Left Opposition and Zinoviev's Opposition of 1925. Many former supporters of the Workers Opposition also joined.
Smirnov's group soon left, over differences between themselves and Kamenev and Zinoviev's supporters. Many from Kamenev and Zinoviev's group, as well as most from the Workers Opposition grouping had left by mid-1927, espousing support for Stalin.
In November 1927, the United Opposition held a demonstration in Red Square, Moscow, along with Lenin's widow Krupskaya. However, the Opposition was unable to gain the support of more than a small minority of the party, and were expelled in December 1927 for constituting a faction. Trotsky formed the International Left Opposition with his remaining supporters, and the Group of 15 also continued its opposition. Supporters of these groups were soon exiled or imprisoned, and by 1940, most former supporters of the United Opposition, whether or not they had repudiated it, had been executed on Stalin's orders.
was a Russian language journalist, playwright, literary translator, and short story writer. He is best known as the author of Red Cavalry, Story of My Dovecote, and Tales of Odessa, all of which are considered masterpieces of Russian literature. Babel has also been acclaimed as "the greatest prose writer of Russian Jewry". Loyal to, but not uncritical of, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Isaac Babel fell victim to Joseph Stalin's Great Purge due to his longterm affair with the wife of NKVD chief Nikolai Yezhov. Babel was arrested by the NKVD at Peredelkino on the night of 15 May 1939. After confessing under interrogation to being a Trotskyist terrorist and foreign spy, Babel was shot on 27 January 1940.