Presentation on theme: "The October Manifesto The Tsar responded by promising a Duma (parliament) with representation by the people. Freedom of the press, speech and conscience."— Presentation transcript:
The October Manifesto The Tsar responded by promising a Duma (parliament) with representation by the people. Freedom of the press, speech and conscience. The right to form political parties. In 1906, with the military returning from Japan (and with improved working conditions) any groups still protesting were violently suppressed.
How the Tsar’s Failure to Meet the Demands of the Manifesto Led to His Downfall In the Duma representatives were mainly the wealthy who couldn’t pass laws, control finance and ministers were responsible to the Tsar not the Duma. The Tsar censored negative stories regarding Rasputin infringing upon freedom of the press Russians had been promised. He encouraged Kulaks (rich peasants who owned animals and hired labour) to buy up land from poor peasants and mass produce for the market. Peasants then felt further alienated and moved to the city where they inevitably became involved in revolutionary movements. Though business prospered workers wages mostly remained low and working and living conditions remained deplorable.
Two Historiographical Approaches to the Causes of the 1917 Revolution First Interpretation: Agriculture, industry and even politics (to a limited degree) were progressing nicely. Therefore, this historical interpretation leans on WWI as being the major cause of the revolution (this is the most popular argument). Second Interpretation: Falls in-line with our notes which highlight the plight of the peasants and workers in post-1905 revolutionary Russia and suggest that the alienation of the peasantry was the major cause.
How WWI Contributed to the Tsar’s Downfall The blame for heavy losses was placed squarely on the shoulders of the Tsar. He went to the front where he could now legitimately be held responsible. The Tsarina and Rasputin fired able ministers with poor replacements which further perpetuated the poor transport and distribution of food and fuel. Unemployment resulting in hunger and death by starvation. Inflation: (cost of living had gone up 300% by 1916).
How WWI Contributed to the Tsar’s Downfall Cont. People were dying of cold and lack of sanitation. Lack of supplies (especially fuel and horses) that were being used in the war. Little support for conscription because of the many deaths. The high number of deaths also affected crop production. When the Tsar had the chance to concede to a constitutional monarchy and have the Duma deal with the war and repercussions - he chose not to.
The February Revolution Considering all of the struggles the Russians lived through in 1916, when bread rations were introduced the people of Petrograd (the capital) were incensed. On February 23, 1917 (note the calendar issues on page 24) during an International Women’s Day march, women that were on strike began rioting and encouraging men to do the same. Reaction by the Bolsheviks was to ask them to go home as they were planning a march on May Day. According to Figes, what differentiated this revolt from Bloody Sunday in 1905 (page 26)?
Credit for the Start of the Revolution The NCO’s refused to shoot on unarmed citizens (see Figes on page 27), many being peasants themselves, could relate to the general strikers and they also didn’t want to be commissioned to fight in a losing war. Figes, sees the mutiny of the soldiers as the beginning of the revolution. Soldiers began to actively fight the police on behalf of the demonstrators. Williams credits both the soldiers and the workers as the initiators of the revolution and notes that most of the leaders of the parties were abroad or in exile. Trotsky and Chamberlain both re-enforce this at the top of page 28.
The Tsar Abdicates Both the Duma and the Russian Army High Command concluded that the revolution could not be prevented by the Tsar and halted the troops marching on Petrograd. On March 2, 1917 the Tsar abdicated to his brother Michael who refused to accept. A new government needed to be formed. Groups chose to cooperate and create a provisional government and establish some stability since, according to Gorky, the revolution was turning into “chaos”.
The Arrival of Lenin With Lenin’s arrival he provided an alternative to the provisional government. We see the beginning of Lenin’s charisma that assists in making the originally mocked April Theses Bolshevik party policy. Do an OPVL of Sukhanov’s work. The argument for Marxist-Leninism in Russia is outlined nicely on page 37: How Did Lenin Justify the April Thesis? This is the argument he would have made to bring detractors on side.
Lenin Distinguishes Himself Lenin distinguished himself by advocating – The removal of the Provisional government – Workers to take power through the Soviet – Opposition to the war – Land to handed over to the peasants immediately The unsuccessful post-Tsar military offensives would have encouraged people to adopt Lenin’s opposition to the war. Note: Figes very humourous account of the last offensive on page 40.
Economic Issues 568 factories in Petrograd closed (100 000 jobs were lost) from Feb-July, 1917. Resulting in inflation in the cost of goods these factories produced (note the stats. on page 43) The railway was close to breaking down. Poor 1917 harvest meant less food available and what was harvested was either being sent to the war front (remember Lenin is opposed to the war) or wasn’t being sold because farmers couldn’t afford to purchase inflated goods. The provisional government’s response: punishment brigades to requisition the grain which further alienated the peasants.
Economic Issues Continued Economic issues always hurt governments and Lenin’s pro-peasant stance would have further assisted in his popularity. Workers were not being pacified either. Increased wages were worthless (again note stats. on page 43) and working conditions were not improving. Lock- outs were being used to force workers hands. Lenin’s “workers take power through the Soviet’s stance” would have been rather appealing at this juncture.
The Rise of Kerensky All of these issues resulted in tension between coalition (provisional) government parties (remember Lenin is opposed to the provisional government). In addition, different societal groups are becoming suspicious that the different parties are assisting only their supporters. Kerensky became Prime Minister a man liked by workers, soldiers, military leaders, bourgeoisie and was seen as a bridge between the Liberals and socialists in the provisional government. Expectations were high he acted like a king and was worshipped like one. This is hugely problematic considering all the problems he faced as noted on page 47.
Further Problems for Kerensky On top of all the problems noted on page 47 the provisional government didn’t have the authority to enforce any of its decisions. As well, the Kadets (one of the parties in the provisional government) had handcuffed the provisional government when they had blocked a land reform deal, supported the war, supported employers over workers and refused to intervene in the economy. Notice that much of what the Kadets had done was the antithesis of Lenin’s April Theses.
The Kornilov Affair Kerensky’s appointment of Kornilov damaged his reputation permanently. The Menshevik’s and SR’s had supported Kerensky and were inevitably associated with his failure. The Kadets and Liberals, who were typically associated with the middle class, those Kornilov looked to for support, were also condemned. The soldiers, many of whom supported the Bolsheviks, saw the Kornilov affair as a officers conspiracy. However, the officers felt Kerensky betrayed Kornilov and therefore would not assist him against the Bolsheviks.
The Kornilov Affair The Bolsheviks were viewed as the saviours of the cities and defenders of the revolution and in September gained control of the Petrograd, Moscow and several urban Soviets. Historiographically, the Kornilov affair looks like a turning point in support for the Bolsheviks. However, Chris Read in From Tsar to Soviets, argues that the Bolsheviks had already gained popular support in Petrograd in the previous city Duma elections and the Mensheviks were also beginning to throw their support behind them.
Methods of Attaining Power Lenin believed there was a power vacuum that the Bolsheviks should fill. Party members did not agree with him(Trotsky suggested waiting until the All-Russian Soviet on 26 October 1917 so it looked like the Soviet seizing power and not the Bolsheviks…Trotsky still attempted to do this, however with most other parties walking out the Soviet, it was rather ineffective). However, with force of argument he was able to convince them to do so. Kerensky, tried to remove soldiers that supported the Bolshevik troops from Petrograd, shut down two Bolshevik newspapers and raise the bridge between the working class neighbourhoods and the centre of Petrograd. This was a excellent excuse to claim Kerensky was attacking the Soviet and the Revolution.
Seizing Power On the night of October 24-25 the Red Guard and other soldiers under Bolshevik control seized the bridges, telephone exchange, main railway and power stations. On the night of October 25-26 the Bolshevik’s stormed the Winter Palace (note the two versions of this historical event on page 63) and arrested those remaining members of the government and proceeded to move to end Russian involvement in WWI and transfer land to the peasants. Though Petrograd was rather bloodless there was ten days of fighting in Moscow and other areas. Historiographically, the revolution was not all the result of Lenin. Trotsky, motivated many through his powerful speeches, encouraged Lenin to wait until October to revolt, set up the Military Revolutionary Committee to prepare for revolution, reacted decisively to Kerensky’s mistakes, and planned the details of the takeover.
Features of War Communism In May 1918, established the Food Supplies Dictatorship to forcibly requisition grain. Banned private trade resulting in a black market. Nationalization of Industry - former bourgeois managers ran the factories instead of the workers who paid themselves too much and stole goods which lead to inefficient factories. Labour Discipline - fines for lateness, and absenteeism, passports to stop migration to the countryside, piece-work rates, bonuses and a workbook that was needed to get rations. Rationing with priority given to workers and the Red Army with the middle class receiving the least.
War Communism: Red Terror Terror was used to back up new measures and deal with opposition. Workers wanted more food, free press, a Constituent Assembly. Anarchists rejected authoritarian control. SR’s didn’t like Brest-Litvosk and attempted to assassinate Lenin. This resulted in mass arrests the exclusion of SR’s and Mensheviks from the Soviets, executions*, prisoners were shot arbitrarily resulting in the Cheka killing 13,000- 300,000 between 1918 and 1920 including victims of all stripes. * This included the Tsar, though Lenin blamed it on the local Soviet, the evidence seems to point to the central party carrying out the act.
Why were the Bolsheviks in Trouble? The Famine of 1921 resulting from grain requisitions and farmers choosing not plant as much (Source 7.1, pg. 103). Disease was rampant. Industrial and agricultural production had collapsed with 80- 90% less production compared to pre-war levels. They were rejected by the Kronstadt, one of their most popular supporters during July and October of the revolution. Largely because those around for the 1917 revolution were on the front fighting for the Red Army, they were fighting in solidarity with the urban workers and their complaints and poor ship conditions. According to Figes, there was no support from the peasants with many revolts (note especially the Tambov region) and workers were constantly striking because of lack of food, militarized working conditions and state control of unions.
The New Economic Policy With War Communism resulting in economic collapse and widespread rebellion the Bolsheviks introduced the New Economic Policy (NEP), a regression towards capitalism that was seen as a temporary measure to re-stabilize the economy. Grain requisitioning was replaced by a tax where they would give a portion of their crop as a tax. This was less burdensome than the requisitions. In order to get peasants to sell their goods they wanted things to buy, so Lenin allowed small businesses to open and make profit. Private trade was allowed and goods had to be purchased with money. Heavy industry was still controlled by the government but functioned very much like a crown corporation where they were essentially a business. An intense program of electrification to connect rural and urban Russia.
Results of the NEP The NEP certainly assisted in economic recovery (see Source 7.16 and 7.18). So-called NEPMEN appeared helping facilitate trade by bringing small goods to market to be bought and sold. Over-production of grain did occur but the government simply took their tax in cash instead, resulting a lower supply of grain. The revived (and somewhat capitalist) economy resulted in trade agreements with Germany (1922) and Great Britain (1924).
Political Repression During The NEP In the spring of 1922, dozens of outstanding Russian writers and scholars were deported to convince the intelligentsia that is it was not a good idea to criticize the government. As well, pre-publication censorship began with the creation of the Main Administration for Affairs of Literature and Publishing Houses Lenin attacked the Church who he saw as a rival to his power. Leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church were given the death penalty and thousands of priests imprisoned Cheka renamed OGPU engaged in arbitrary imprisonment and death of opposition. They occasionally imprisoned Nepmen to assure the Communists and urban workers that capitalism would not re-root. Show trials of opposition and banning of opp. Parties.
A Movement Toward Totalitarianism By 1919 the Politburo was created which centralized power even more so than the Sovnakom essentially making Russia a Totalitarian state. The party took control of the Soviets (to prevent uncooperative Soviets during the Civil War, the Bolsheviks rigged elections and used the Cheka to intimidate voters) and now became tools of the party including leaders now being appointed as opposed to elected by the Soviets themselves. Later in the 1920’s they banned non-communists from the Soviets One of the reasons for this was the chaos during the Civil War where the Bolsheviks needed to find a way to gain control of areas.