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The Bolshevik Revolution Cause and impact on International politics October revolution

The October Revolution also known as the Great October Socialist Revolution, Red October, the October Uprising or the Bolshevik Revolution, was a political revolution, mass insurrection and a part of the Russian Revolution of 1917. It took place with an armed insurrection in Petrograd traditionally dated to 25 October 1917. It followed and capitalized on the February Revolution of the same year. The October Revolution in Petrograd overthrew the Russian Provisional Government and gave the power to the local soviets dominated by Bolsheviks. As the revolution was not universally recognized outside of Petrograd there followed the struggles of the Russian Civil War (1917 1923) and the creation of the Soviet Union in 1922. The revolution was led by the Bolsheviks, who used their influence in the Petrograd Soviet to organize the armed forces. Bolshevik Red Guards forces under the Military Revolutionary Committee began the takeover of government buildings on 24 October 1917. The following day, the Winter Palace (the seat of the Provisional government located in Petrograd, then capital of Russia), was captured. A nationwide crisis had developed in Russia affecting social, economic, and political relations. Disorder in industry and transport had intensified, and difficulties in obtaining provisions had increased. Gross industrial production in 1917 had decreased by over 36 percent from what it had been in 1916. In the autumn, as much as 50 percent of all enterprises were closed down in the Urals, the Donbas, and other industrial centers, leading to mass unemployment. At the same time, the cost of living increased sharply. The real wages of the workers fell about 50 percent from what they had been in 1913. Russia's national debt in October 1917 had risen to 50 billion rubles. Of this, debts to foreign governments constituted more than 11 billion rubles. The country faced the threat of financial bankruptcy. In September and October 1917, there were strikes by the Moscow and Petrograd workers, the miners of the Donbas, the metalworkers of the Urals, the oil workers of Baku, the textile workers of the Central Industrial Region, and the railroad workers on 44 different railway lines. In these months alone more than a million workers took part in mass strike action. Workers established control over production and distribution in many factories and plants in a social revolution. By October 1917 there had been over four thousand peasant uprisings against landowners. When the Provisional Government sent out punitive detachments it only enraged the peasants. The garrisons in Petrograd, Moscow, and other cities, the Northern and Western fronts, and the sailors of the Baltic Fleet in September openly declared through their elected representative body Tsentrobalt that they did not recognize the authority of the Provisional Government and would not carry out any of its commands.

Bolsheviks The Bolsheviks were a revolutionary party, committed to the ideas of Karl Marx. They believed that the working classes would, at some point, liberate themselves from the economic and political control of the ruling classes. Once they had achieved this, a genuine

socialist society based on equality could be established. In their view, this process was bound to take place, sooner or later. -The Bolshevik Revolution in Russia in 1917 was initiated by millions of people who would change the history of the world as we know it. When Czar Nicholas II dragged 11 million peasants into World War I, the Russian people became discouraged with their injuries and the loss of life they sustained. The country of Russia was in ruins, ripe for revolution.

In the nineteenth century, almost entire Europe was going through important social, economic and political transformation. The social, economic, political and psychological conditions in Russia had become so vulnerable that it only required a spark to cause the revolution. World War I was responsible in setting the ball of revolution rolling in Russia. Acute shortage of ammunition, poor general ship, lack of factories, demoralized soldiers, a corrupt government and high treason at all ranks, created a crisis in the state. The entire national life of the state was paralyzed. The peasants and workers denounced the war and the Czarist government. They held demonstrations and went on an indefinite strike. The peasants attacked and killed the Kulaks (rich peasants) and seized their lands. The heavy losses in battles undermined the morale of the soldiers, who deserted the front and joined the peasants, factory workers and sailors in the revolution that began on March 12, 1917. Various factors and forces led to the Russian Revolution of 1917. 1-Economic Factors The economic factors were the main factors contributing to the Revolution, as they resulted in poverty, misery and exploitation of the masses by the nobility. Russia was mainly a highly backward agricultural country before the revolution. The royal family, the nobility and the clergy owned most of the agricultural land. Only between three and ten acres of land was owned by 70% of the peasants. Many of them had to earn their livelihood only 2 acres land or even less. In addition they had to use primitive tools, implements and methods of cultivation, which were not very productive. Further, the poor peasants became poorer as they had to pay huge sums of rent and tributes to their landlords every year. This created great discontent among the farmers who were ready to revolt against the Czarist government, in order to end this economic and social system. Inevitably, the continuing economic crisis discredited the Provisional Government, and strengthened the appeal of the Bolsheviks. A-Most Russians were poor B-Russias industry was mostly owned by foreign businessmen C-General lack of money; economic stagnation D-Food and fuel shortages In the industrial sphere too, Russia was backward and depended only on foreign capital. The workers and labourers had to endure miserable working conditions. They received extremely low wages and worked for 12 to 14 hours a day. They had to go without any medical relief in case of an accident while on duty. They did not even have a weekly holiday. It was considered a crime to form trade unions.

2-Social Causes There was an imbalance in the social structure A-Most of Russias population was poor peasants B-There was almost no middle class, so most business owners were foreign C-Proletariat (workers) had low wages and poor working conditions D-Reformers like Lenin and the Bolsheviks encouraged Communist Revolution 3-Political Causes Political factors also formed an important cause of the Russian Revolution of 1917. The masses had no legal means of improving the social structure. A strike was considered to be a mutiny. The people had no press to ventilate their grievances.

Russia was ruled by absolute monarchs called Czars Czars limited rights and freedoms; used censorship and secret police to keep order Czars were unable to solve Russias problems The Czarist government was ruthless, absolute and repressive. On January 15, 1905, a peaceful demonstration led by Father Gapon at St. Petersburg was fired upon by the Czarist troops. The Duma (parliament) had limited powers. Franchise was not given to women, laborers and the common people. 4- Military Causes A-1904 Russo-Japanese War: Fought over control of land in China. Russias loss = 1st time a Western power loses to a non-Western country. People angry and embarrassed B-1905 Revolution: Palace guards kill unarmed protestors C-1914-1918: World War I: Its an expensive blood bath, people demand peace 5-Russian defeat in WWI

6-Failure of the Provisional Government The Provisional Government was only a temporary government meant to take care of the empire until it could hold elections for a Constituent Assembly which would draw up a constitution for Russia. However, it was not confident enough of itself to implement mass reforms and such, as it was not elected, but self-appointed and temporary. After the revolution, many people expected democracy and an elected parliament. However, the Provisional Government delayed the elections and this lost them a lot of support. They claimed that so many people were away fighting that it was not possible to hold elections. While this was going on, so was the war. While the war-weary people wanted the war to end,

the Provisional Government felt that victory would boost morale. However, more defeats meant that hundreds of soldiers deserted and more support lost. The people wanted many reforms, most importantly land reforms, as the majority of the population - the peasants, wanted the lands of the aristocrats. However, the reluctant and wary government, as mentioned earlier, did not want to do so in order to consolidate their position first. The government also inherited the problems of the Tsar's, as they had to face inflation and food shortages. The government was also humiliated many times by their own inability to deal with problems. In the cities, workers formed groups called the Petrograd Soviet, a form of workers' union. The Petrograd Soviet called upon all soldiers to obey them, and thus the government became reliant on them. This can be seen in the example of the Kornilov incident, where the rogue commander-in-chief Kornilov turned on the government with his troops. The government had to turn to the Petrograd Soviet for help, and they promptly replied with their own forces, known as the Red Guard, by driving away Kornilov and his troops quickly. 7-The Appeal of the Bolshevik Party The Bolsheviks were one of the communist parties in Russia at that time. Their leader was a man known as Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, and was a great fan of Marx's. He had been influenced by Marx's socialist writings and wished to transform Russia into the ideal communist state. He was originally exiled from Russia during monarchical reign, but returned to Russia in April 1917. At this time, the Provisional Government had freed political prisoners and loosened up their hold on the press. The Okhrana was also disbanded. All this made it easier for Lenin to carry out his revolutionary activates. He was able to organise the party better with party communities all over Russia and in the army. At the same time, Lenin found a talent in a person called Leon Trotsky. Trotsky used to be on the side of the Mensheviks, another communist group but was more on the side of taking things slower and not having a revolution so early. Trotsky however opposed this view and joined the Bolsheviks instead. Lenin found that Trotsky was highly capable, both in speaking and in military expertise. He entrusted Trotsky with the job of organising the Bolshevik troops, the Red Army. He also found some qualities in a man called Joseph Stalin. Although less capable than Trotsky in speaking, he was reliable and not so flamboyant. Stalin took charge of the party newspaper, Pravda (Truth), which spread Bolshevik propaganda and news. Lenin often made speeches to the people. He told them about his ideas for Russia, encapsulated in three basic points: "Peace, Bread and Land". Not only that, he also opposed the government violently and wanted the immediate transfer of power to the Bolsheviks. This, and the Bolshevik slogan, made them so appealing that they gained power so rapidly and the government's hold on Russia began to slide. The slogan of "Peace" was probably the most attractive offer to the Russian people. Almost everybody wanted the war to stop, as it had dragged on for too long. The devastated economy and dwindling food supplies were all caused by the war, and people wished to reutrn to their

lives, just as before the war. Lenin knew this and aptly used this as a slogan for his campaign. Being the only party which constantly opposed the continuation of the war, the Bolsheviks attracted many supporters. The "Bread" problem was not being met by the government, but the Bolsheviks promised that they would deal with it. Lenin promised to provide the people with sufficient food, and the starving population turned to him for help. "Land" was another point well handled by Lenin .Most peasants were furious with the government and the landowners for not giving the peasants a chance to earn their own money with their own land. Lenin, however, in accordance with the communist ideology, promised that the landowners' property would be split up and distributed equally, naturally attracting mass support from the majority of the population. As Lenin's support grew, and membership increased tenfold in 8 months, so did dissatisfaction with the government. In July, during a period known as the "July Days", a political crisis erupted as soldiers in Petrograd refused to go to the front and sailors joined the workers in anti-government demonstrations. These people were mostly Bolshevik supporters, and these riots were no doubt sparked off by party instigators. However, they were delivered a crushing defeat when the government managed to suppress the demonstrations and arrested a few leading Bolsheviks. Lenin himself was shot twice in the chest from close range, but survived to escape to Finland. However, this event goes to show that the Bolsheviks were gaining a lot of support and would soon be able to take power. Course of the Bolshevik Revolution

-The detailed organisation of the Bolshevik revolution was done by Trotsky. He planned very systematically the seizure of important government buildings and strategic locations by the Red Army. -The government knew very well that a revolution was being planned, but were so inefficient and disorganised that they could do nothing about it. -In the end, Lenin returned to Russia on the 23rd of October and thus, the Bolshevik Revolution began... -Trotsky and the Red Army began by getting the support of the Petrograd garrison, and together they seized important railway stations, the telephone exchange and bridges. -They met with no resistance all the way from the Smolny Institute where the Bolshevik headquarters was to the Winter Palace. -There, the few remaining loyal troops were defending the Palace bravely. -However, their resistance collapsed quickly as the Bolshevik-controlled gunship the Aurora fired warning shots (some people say it's guns were too pathetic to even reach the walls of the Palace). -Government members were arrested and the head, Alexander Kerensky, escaped.

-By the 26th of that month, the Bolsheviks had taken Petrograd. After another month, they controlled Russia. The reason why the Bolsheviks were so successful was because other groups like the Social Revolutionaries and the Mensheviks were hesitant in leading a revolution after February. They were willing to work together with the Provisional Government for the good of the people. This cooperative mentality was eventually used against them by the Bolsheviks, branding them as traitors. Not only that, they also supported the government in their continuation of the war, and this worked against them too. All this brought the Bolsheviks support from many workers and soldiers in Moscow and Petrograd. However, the Bolsheviks did not have the full support of ALL people in Russia. It was Lenin's and the Bolshevik's task to extend and maintain their control over the vast empire they had inherited.

The Bolsheviks were given a strong boost by a number of factors: The Provisional Government As the name implied, the Provisional Government was meant to be a temporary affair. Following the fall of the Tsar, Russia needed a government to run things until proper elections could be held. These elections were delayed. At the same time, the Provisional Government took major decisions, such as remaining in World War I and postponing land reforms, which greatly affected the Russian people. This made the Provisional Government increasingly unpopular and allowed Lenin to attack it for these reasons, and for the fact that it had never been elected to power. The Soviets After the February Revolution, the first Soviet appeared in Petrograd. Soon, other Soviets had been elected, in Moscow and other cities. The Soviets were basically councils, elected by workers, soldiers and sailors. They were usually chaotic, rowdy, and disorganised but they were elected - unlike the Provisional Government. Lenin fastened on to this, and declared that the Soviets should actually rule Russia - "All Power to the Soviets!" became an extremely effective Bolshevik rallying cry. Of course, what Lenin actually meant was that the Soviets should rule Russia, with the Bolsheviks controlling them.

The War The Russian people wanted the war to come to an end. The country was exhausted and the people had had enough. Incredibly, the Provisional Government could not see this. They persisted in trying to continue with the military campaigns. A final, unsuccessful offensive against the Germans was attempted in June 1917 with the remaining loyal troops. The collapse of the army's morale continued, with desertion being encouraged by the Bolsheviks. Aftermath and Consequences

-Spread of Socialist Ideas in the East Under the impact of the October revolution, socialist ideas became widespread. These ideas influenced the view of many leaders of national-liberation struggles. In India, Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru was particularly influenced by Bolshevik idea of scientific socialism It also paved the way for RISE AND GROWTH OF COMMUNIST AND WORKERS MOVEMENT IN THE EAST. -Shortly after the October Revolution, the Russian Civil War broke out between the 'Reds' (Communists) and the 'Whites' (Nationalists, Conservatives, Imperialists and other antiBolshevik groups). After a bloody four year struggle Lenin and the Reds won, establishing the Soviet Union in 1922, at an estimated cost of 15 million lives and billions of roubles. In 1923 Lenin died and Stalin took over the Communist Party, which continued to rule Russia until 1991 when the USSR was dissolved. Bolshevik policies As Bolshevik leader, Lenin had very clear objectives for what he wanted to achieve. First of all, the Bolsheviks had to gain control of the Petrograd Soviet. Then they would seize power in the name of the Soviet. This process would be repeated in other cities. It was due to Lenin's energy and drive that the Bolsheviks agreed on this course of action. The first step was to increase Bolshevik support within the Soviets. Lenin developed Bolshevik policies in line with this aim in mind. The slogan "peace, bread and land" summarised Bolshevik policies at this time. Peace Lenin could see that the Russian people wanted an end to the war. The Bolsheviks were offering what they wanted. Bread Lenin claimed that the Bolsheviks could solve the food shortages - the Provisional Government had made them worse. Land This was a shrewd move by Lenin. The Bolsheviks were a party of the cities and the industrial areas and they had very little support among the peasants. However, with the peasants being the vast majority of the population, Lenin could not risk them turning against the Bolsheviks. By offering them land, Lenin ensured that the peasants stayed neutral when the Bolsheviks made their bid for power. Lenin was actively supported by Leon Trotsky. Trotsky had superb skills of organisation and improvisation. He created the Red Guards, a Bolshevik militia formed from armed factory workers, soldiers and sailors. Trotsky took charge of the detailed planning of the actual Bolshevik takeover at the end of October, to make sure that all the vital areas of Petrograd were effectively in Bolshevik hands. The Russian Revolution

The Russian Revolution is dated to November 1917 when Bolshevik Party forces took over the government offices in Petrograd. However, the problems that led toward revolution had been developing for generations. The revolutions consequences, too, were far-reachingthe Communist Party, which formed to lead post-revolutionary Russia, remained in power until 1991. Causes Widespread suffering under autocracya form of government in which one Person, in this case the czar, has absolute power Weak leadership of Czar Nicholas IIclung to autocracy despite changing times Poor working conditions, low wages, and hazards of industrialization New revolutionary movements that believed a worker-run government should replace czarist rule Russian defeat in the Russo-Japanese War (1905), which led to rising unrest Bloody Sunday, the massacre of unarmed protestors outside the palace, in 1905 Devastation of World War Ihigh casualties, economic ruin, widespread hunger The March Revolution in 1917, in which soldiers who were brought in for crowd control ultimately joined labour activists in calling Down with the autocracy! Consequences The government is taken over by the Bolshevik Party, led by V. I. Lenin; later, it will be known as the Communist Party. Farmland is distributed among farmers, and factories are given to workers. Banks are nationalized and a national council is assembled to run the economy. Russia pulls out of World War I, signing the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, conceding much land to Germany. Czarist rule ends. Nicholas II, his wife and five children are executed. Civil war, between Bolshevik (red) and anti-Bolshevik (white) forces, sweeps Russia from 1918 to 1920. Around 15 million die in conflict and the famine The Russian economy is in shambles. Industrial production drops, trade all but ceases, and skilled workers flee the country. Lenin asserts his control by cruel methods such as the Gulag, a vast and brutal network of prison camps for both criminals and political prisoners.

The October Revolution cannot be regarded merely as a revolution "within national bounds." It is, primarily, a revolution of an international, world order, for it signifies a radical turn in the world history of mankind, a turn from the old, capitalist world to the new, socialist world. The October Revolution differs from other revolutions in principle. Its aim is not to replace one form of exploitation by another form of exploitation, one group of exploiters by another group of exploiters, but to abolish all exploitation of man by man, to abolish all groups of exploiters, to establish the dictatorship of the proletariat, to establish the power of the most revolutionary class of all the oppressed classes that have ever existed, to organize a new, classless, socialist society. It is precisely for this reason that the victory of the October Revolution signifies a radical change in the history of mankind, a radical change in the historical destiny of world capitalism, a radical change in the liberation movement of the world proletariat, a radical

change in the methods of struggle and the forms of organization, in the manner of life and traditions, in the culture and ideology of the exploited masses throughout the world. That is the basic reason why the October Revolution is a revolution of an international, world order. That also is the source of the profound sympathy which the oppressed classes in all countries entertain for the October Revolution, which they regard as a pledge of their own emancipation. A number of fundamental issues could be noted on which the October Revolution influences the development of the revolutionary movement throughout the world. 1. The October Revolution is noteworthy primarily for having breached the front of world imperialism, for having overthrown the imperialist bourgeoisie in one of the biggest capitalist countries and put the socialist proletariat in power. The class of wage-workers, the class of the persecuted and the class of the oppressed and exploited has for the first time in the history of mankind risen to the position of the ruling class, setting a contagious example to the proletarians of all countries. This means that the October Revolution has ushered in a new era, the era of proletarian revolutions in the countries of imperialism. It took the instruments and means of production from the landlords and capitalists and converted them into public property, thus counterpoising socialist property to bourgeois property. It thereby exposed the lie of the capitalists that bourgeois property is inviolable, sacred, and eternal. 2. The October Revolution has shaken imperialism not only in the centres of its domination, not only in the "metropolises." It has also struck at the rear of imperialism, its periphery, having undermined the rule of imperialism in the colonial and dependent countries. Having overthrown the landlords and the capitalists, the October Revolution broke the chains of national and colonial oppression and freed from it, without exception, all the oppressed peoples of a vast state. The proletariat cannot emancipate itself unless it emancipates the oppressed peoples. It is a characteristic feature of the October Revolution that it accomplished these national-colonial revolutions in the U.S.S.R. not under the flag of national enmity and conflicts among nations, but under the flag of mutual confidence and fraternal rapprochement of the workers and peasants of the various peoples in the U.S.S.R., not in the name of nationalism, but in the name of internationalism. 3- The October Revolution cannot be regarded merely as a revolution in the sphere of economic and social-political relations. It is at the same time a revolution in the minds, a revolution in the ideology, of the working class. The October Revolution was born and gained strength under the banner of Marxism, under the banner of the idea of the dictatorship of the proletariat, under the banner of Leninism, which is Marxism of the era of imperialism and proletarian revolutions. Hence it marks the victory of Marxism over reformism, the victory of Leninism over Social-Democratism, the victory of the Third International over the Second International.