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The reasons why russia became a communist republic

Its causes were not so much economic or social as political and cultural. For the sake of stability, tsarism insisted on rigid autocracy that effectively shut out the population from participation in government. At the same time, to maintain its status as a great power, it promoted industrial development and higher educationwhich were inherently dynamic.

The result was perpetual tension between government and society, especially its educated element, known as the intelligentsia. Potentially destabilizing also was the refusal of the mass of Russian peasantryliving in communes, to acknowledge the principle of private property in land. In the late 19th century the political conflict pitted three protagonists: The tsar was absolute and unlimited in his authority, which was subject to neither constitutional restraints nor parliamentary institutions.

He ruled with the help of a bureaucratic caste, subject to no external controls and above the law, and the army, one of whose main tasks was maintaining internal order.

Imperial Russia developed to a greater extent than any contemporary country a powerful and ubiquitous security police. It was a crime to question the existing system or to organize for any purpose whatsoever without government permission. The system, which contained seeds of future totalitarianismthe reasons why russia became a communist republic nevertheless not rigidly enforced and was limited by the institution of private property.

The vast majority of Russian peasants lived in communes obshchinywhich held land in common and periodically redistributed it to member households to allow for changes in family size.

The communal organization, composed of heads of households, exercised great control over members. Communal peasants did not own their land but merely cultivated it for a period of time determined by local custom. Under these conditions they had little opportunity to develop respect for private property or any of the other qualities necessary for citizenship.

Communism in Russia

Politically they tended toward primitive anarchism. To some extent this also held true for industrial workers, some two million strong at the turn of the century, most of whom came from the village.

Communist Party of the Soviet Union

The intelligentsia was partly liberal, partly radical, but in either case unalterably opposed to the status quo. Having met with no response, they adopted methods of terror, which culminated in 1881 in the assassination of Emperor Alexander II.

The government reacted with repressive measures that kept the revolutionaries at bay for the next two decades. In the meantime the field was left to liberal intellectuals, who in January 1904 formed the Union of Liberationa semilegal political body committed to the struggle for democracy.

Assassination of the tsar and the battle for Ukraine

The oppositional groups received the reasons why russia became a communist republic chance in 1904—05 when Russia became involved in a war with Japan. The Union of Liberation, moving into the open, presented a program of fundamental political reforms. On October 17 October 30, New Stylefaced with a general strikeEmperor Nicholas II issued a manifesto that promised the country a legislative parliament. The October Manifesto in effect ended the autocratic system.

The following year Russia was given a constitution. Elections took place to a representative body, the State Dumawhich was empowered to initiate and veto legislative proposals.

The population received guarantees of fundamental civil liberties. Between 1906 and 1911 Russia was administered by the greatest statesman of the late imperial era, Pyotr Stolypin. Stolypin both ruthlessly suppressed disorders and carried out extensive reforms.

The most important of these were laws allowing peasants to withdraw from the commune and establish independent farmsteads. Stolypin hoped to create a self-reliant yeomanry to act as a stabilizing force in the countryside. He also had other social and political reforms in mind. These were frustrated by the hostility of the court as well as of the opposition parties. He was murdered by a revolutionary in 1911. The constitution of 1906 was frequently violated by both the government and the opposition.

The former misused its emergency clauses to adjourn the Duma and rule by decree. The latter, especially the radical parties, sabotaged the legislative process. Even so, in its last decade Russia enjoyed greater freedom than ever before. It also enjoyed relative prosperity: Conditions in the countryside gradually improved, and in 1916 peasants owned or rented 90 percent of the arable land.

The humiliating defeats that the Russian army suffered at the hands of the Germans, who expelled it from Poland, lowered the prestige of the monarchy further.

There were also unsubstantiated rumours that Empress Alexandra, a German by origin, betrayed military secrets to the enemy. The opposition, instead of rallying behind the crown, exploited its difficulties to wrest further powers so as to be in a position to take charge once the war was over. The government, for its part, clung jealously to all its prerogativesfrom fear that involving public figures in the war effort would make it impossible to reassert strong tsarist authority once peace was reestablished.

In no other belligerent country were political conflicts waged as intensely during the war as in Russia, preventing the effective mobilization of the rear.

One result of this was disorganization of food supplies. Although Russia produced more than enough to feed itself, economic mismanagement combined with the breakdown of transportation led in the third year of the war to a sharp rise in prices and to food shortages in the cities. The final assault on the monarchy began in November 1916, when the head of the liberal Constitutional Democratic PartyPavel Milyukovduring a session of the Duma, implied the government was guilty of treason.

During the exceptionally severe winter of 1916—17, food and fuel deliveries to the major cities, especially the capital, Petrograd the name given to St. Petersburg between 1914 and 1924continued to decline. The revolt began with a mutiny of the Petrograd garrison, staffed by superannuated reservists; from them it spread to the industrial quarters. Nicholas II, persuaded by his generals that he and his wife were the main obstacle to victory, agreed to abdicate March 2 [March 15, New Style].

Authority was nominally assumed by a provisional government, issued from the Duma and headed by Prince Georgy Lvov. Similar soviets sprang up in other cities. It legislated on its own without bearing responsibility for the consequences. Its effect was to cause a breakdown of discipline in the armed forces.

An offensive that the minister of war, Aleksandr Kerensky, launched on June 16 June 29, New Style1917 in the hope of rallying patriotic spirits soon ran out of steam. Lenin and the Bolsheviks From the beginning of the 20th century there were three principal revolutionary parties in Russia. The Socialist Revolutionary Partywhose main base of support was the peasantry, was heavily influenced by anarchism and resorted to political terror.

In the first decade of the century, members of this party assassinated thousands of government officials, hoping in this way to bring down the government. The party split in 1903 into two factions, which soon developed into separate parties. The Mensheviksloyal to traditional Social Democratic teachings, concentrated on developing ties with labour and rejected as premature political revolution in agrarian, largely precapitalist Russia.

the reasons why russia became a communist republic

  • Since the state nationalized all church property, the clergy were left destitute;
  • The system, which contained seeds of future totalitarianism , was nevertheless not rigidly enforced and was limited by the institution of private property;
  • There were also unsubstantiated rumours that Empress Alexandra, a German by origin, betrayed military secrets to the enemy.

The Bolshevikswho in some respects were closer to the Socialist Revolutionaries, believed that Russia was ready for socialism. Their leader, Vladimir Ilich Leninwas a fanatical revolutionary, who managed to organize a relatively small but totally devoted and highly disciplined party bent on seizing power.

Convinced that workers by themselves could not progress beyond peaceful trade- unionism, he wanted the party to direct the working class on the revolutionary path. This attracted the attention of the Germanswho came to realize that they could not win the war unless they somehow succeeded in forcing Russia to sign a separate peace.

To this end they generously supplied Lenin with the money necessary to organize his party and build up a press.

Soviet Union

He had to contend, however, with the majority of his followers who doubted it would succeed. The skeptics were vindicated in July 1917 when a putsch led by the Bolsheviks badly misfired. Abandoning his followers, Lenin sought refuge in Finland. After the abortive Bolshevik July rising the chairmanship of the provisional government passed to Kerensky.

A Socialist Revolutionary lawyer and Duma deputy, Kerensky was the best-known radical in the country owing to his defense of political prisoners and fiery antigovernment rhetoric. A superb speaker, he lacked the political judgment to realize his political ambitions. Aware that such power as he had rested on the support of the All-Russian Soviet, Kerensky decided that the only threat Russian democracy faced came from the right. By this he meant conservative civilian and military elements, whose most visible symbol was General Lavr Kornilova patriotic officer whom he had the reasons why russia became a communist republic commander in chief but soon came to see as a rival.

To win the support of the Soviet, still dominated by Socialists Revolutionaries and Mensheviks, Kerensky did not prosecute the Bolsheviks for the July putsch and allowed them to emerge unscathed from the debacle. The prime minister confidentially informed Kornilov that the Bolsheviks were planning another coup in Petrograd in early September which was not, in fact, true and requested him to send troops to suppress it.

When Kornilov did as ordered, Kerensky charged him with wanting to topple the government. Accused of high treason, Kornilov mutinied. The mutiny was easily crushed. It was a Pyrrhic victory for Kerensky. His action alienated the officer corps, whose support he needed in the looming conflict with the Bolsheviks. It also vindicated the Bolshevik claim that the provisional government was ineffective and that the soviets should assume full and undivided authority.

In late September and October the Bolsheviks began to win majorities in the soviets: The Bolshevik coup The events of February 1917 merit the name of Revolution because they were essentially spontaneous. The Bolshevik Central Committee made the decision to seize power at a clandestine meeting held on the night of October 10 October 23, New Style.

There were considerable disagreements over the timing: Lenin wanted the coup to be carried out immediately; Trotsky and most of the others preferred to convene a national Congress of Soviets, packed with Bolsheviks, and have it proclaim the overthrow of the provisional government.

A compromise was struck: This decided, Lenin returned to his hideaway, leaving the direction of the coup in the hands of Trotsky. Disregarding the authority of the Central Executive Committee of the Soviet, dominated as before by the Mensheviks and Socialists Revolutionaries, the Bolsheviks invited those local soviets in which they enjoyed majorities to attend a national congress beginning on October 25 November 7, New Style.

Russian Civil War

In the meantime they built up an armed force to carry out a coup. Since the Bolsheviks were the only organization with an independent armed force, they took over the Military Revolutionary Committee and used it to topple the government. During the night of October 24—25, Bolshevik Red Guards peacefully occupied strategic points in Petrograd. On the morning of October 25, Lenin, reemerging from his hideaway, issued a declaration in the name of the Military Revolutionary Committee, which had no authority to do so, that the provisional government was overthrown and all power was assumed by the soviets.

The declaration referred neither to the Bolsheviks nor to socialism, for which reason the inhabitants of the city had no inkling how profound a change had occurred. Kerensky tried to rally the armed forces to save his government but found no response among officers furious at his treatment of Kornilov.

On October 26 the rump Congress of Soviets confirmed the transfer of power and passed several decrees submitted to it by Lenin, including one that socialized nonpeasant private land.

  • In the late 19th century the political conflict pitted three protagonists;
  • In the Treaty of Riga March 1921 , Soviet Russia had to give up sizable territories to which it had laid claim;
  • Prompted by fears of falling behind the West and another world war, Stalin's 1927 plan was to step up and increase the pace of industrialization.