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Chronological Overview

Emergence & Consolidation of Lenin’s USSR

Part I: How do the Bolsheviks consolidate power between October 1917 and 1924?

Revolutionary Overview:

 January 1905 Bloody Sunday - Tsarist troops open fire on a peaceful demonstration of workers in St Petersburg.

 October 1905 - The October Manifesto, issued by Czar Nicholas II, brings an end to the 1905 Russian Revolution by
promising civil liberties and an elected parliament (Duma)

 1914-1918 Outbreak of the First World War

 February 1917 - The February Revolution begins with strikes, demonstrations, and mutinies in Petrograd
o March 1917 - Czar abdicates
o July 1917 - Alexander Kerensky becomes Prime Minister of the Provisional Government
 Flaws of Provisional Government:
 War: Casualties & Costs – tsarist govt did not pull out; attacked Germany  July Days
 Land: Reform wanted immediately, but Provisional govt wanted to wait until election of
Constituent Assembly
 Minority Groups: demanded more autonomy
 Economy: shortage of food, fuel and raw materials, grain shortage
 Problems facing Kerensky:
 liberals in gov't were moving to the right, now wanted: no land reforms; defense of property
military disciplinelaw and order re-established
 army was disintegrating: regiments were deserting; commandeering of trains
 Control in countryside was lost: land seizures led to increased violence
 Economic situation in cities: Grain wasn't getting to the cities, factories were closing
 Increasing lawlessness: robbery
 Increasing support for Bolsheviks: workers, soldiers, and sailors were becoming more
radicalized, turned to Bolsheviks for reform
 Kornilov affair: damaged Kerensky's reputation

 October 1917 - The October Revolution - the Bolsheviks take over Petrograd
o The Winter Palace, the last holdout of the Provisional Government, is taken by the Bolsheviks; the Council of
People's Commissars (abbreviated as Sovnarkom), led by Lenin, is now in control of Russia
 Bread Land and Peace!
 See page 2 for early decrees
 Russian Civil war 1918-1922:
o Reds: Bolsheviks, “Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army”
 Made up of Kronstadt sailors, Red Guards, and volunteers
 Organized by Trotsky: reinstated strict military disciplines, held former Russian officers’ families
hostage, effectively used train system
o Whites: Anyone opposed the Bolsheviks, which included monarchists, liberals, SRs, Mensheviks, and former
military officers
 Deeply divided, lacked support
 4 main army branches
 Sometimes supplied by Western powers (protecting Murmansk and Archangel)
o Greens: Primarily peasant army, Ukrainians, guerrilla tactics
 Objective – secure the region (within Ukraine)
o Russo-Polish War 1919-1921
o Results: Victory of the Red Army (led by Trotsky)

Small businesses reopened & private ownership allowed iii. Splits Parties c. Gov’t takes action = took peasant taxes in cash 10. Workers. War Communism a. Grain requisitions: quotas. extra sold on open market ii. Kronstadt Sailors b. Civil War inevitable 4. party detached from proletarian base c. 1923-nomenklatura: Elite governmental and political positions held loyal Bolsheviks more authoritarian. Execution of the Tsar family on July 17. Political oppression and censorship. Dissolved Jan.Bolshevik Consolidation: 1. urban workers. Rights of the People of Russia 2. Nepman: private traders (men who bought produce and other products from the peasants and sold them in the city) c. State control on heavy industry (also transport and banking) 8. Fun fact: In the 1920s. Nationalization of industry. Food. Key features i. and opposing socialists put down by the Cheka via arrests and executions c.people) b. extreme increase in crime and prostitution 9. lack of industrial goods = prices rise c. 1923. Censorship & Banning Newspapers b. 1918 d. 42% of prostitutes in Moscow were from the Bourgeoisie class 5. trade. 175 Bolsheviks to 410 SR ii. Rationing and Famine (again) 6. World War I a. Political Dissent 7. Cheka – est. heavy discipline on laborers c. NEP – New Economic Policy “ Only atactical retreat”-temporary (betrayal to the ideology. anarachists. Nov. Early Decrees a. 1917 c. Cheka raids of black markets e. Peasant resistance. Workers Control Decree c. 1921-Economy in shambles: a. Revolts: peasants. Death of Lenin: 1924 a.“Scissors Crisis”: a. Labor and concentration camps b. punishments for Kulaks b. Centralization of government a. 1919-Politburo created (more power to a small group-only 7. Grain requisitioning abolished-some grain still taken. attacks on opposition groups and the Orthodox Church 11. Executions (up to 300. 1918 3. End the war  Treaty of Brest-Litovsk b. but necessary) a. 000). Land Decree b. Constituent Assembly i. Labor disputes e. factory output (rose 20%) b. Ban on private trade (formation of black markets) d. Red Terror a. Ban on private trade lifted money economy was back iv. Too much food = prices drop b. but mush less. Economic Recovery a. Trotsky or Stalin? NEP  How was the Bolshevik state consolidated between 1921 and 1924 . Opposition a.

How did the party come to dominate the government?  1919-Politburo created (more power to a small group-only 7. By 1924 there was a one party dictatorship. The Sovnarkom gained more power. thus production had come to a halt o Grain production fallen o Mass death from disease o Peasants were hostile-detested grain requisitioning  Urban workers revolt o Food shortages o The militarized factories-conditions horrible o State controlled unions-corrupt o Strikes result in martial law  Kronstadt Sailors also revolt o Supported urban workers o Mutinied against Bolsheviks…were shot Political Dissent:  The revolts had led to divisions in the party  Worker’s Opposition(group) o wanted workers to have more control.“Scissors Crisis”:  Too much food o prices drop  Still a lack of industrial goods o prices rise  Gov’t takes action o took peasant taxes in cash  Crisis short lived o industry begins to grow Inside and outside the Soviet Union people thought that this was the end of communism. but obeyed the people at the top .1921-Economy in shambles:  Peasants revolt o Collapsed transport system.people)  Local communist groups took control of soviets across Russia. However. when the Bolsheviks took power they had no clear plan of how to run the country so they kind of improvised. criticized Trotsky’s gov’t controlled trade unions  Lenin recognizes the need for an end to war communism  Trotsky wants to intensify war communism NEP:  “Only a tactical retreat”-temporary  Presented to the Politburo o seen as a betrayal to the ideology. but it came with a price: extreme increase in crime and prostitution 1923. but mush less and the extra can be sold on the open market  Small businesses reopened o private ownership allowed  Ban on private trade lifted o money economy was back  State control on heavy industry (also transport and banking) o They were organized into trusts Economic recovery:  1922-Economy getting better: o Food was in circulation o Trade was regular o Factory output increased (rose 200% in 3 years) o Industry grew slowly o Nepman  private traders (men who bought produce and other products from the peasants and sold them in the city) o All seemed well with the economy. but also necessary Key features  Grain requisitioning abolished-some grain is still taken. but with a liberalized economy came a more centralized gov’t. They centralized the government by concentrating the majority of the power in the hands of a few top people.

In what ways did the government become more centralized?  It was essential to keep large industries afloat (especially during the Civil war) o They nationalized industry  Transport was important for the same reason as industry so it was also nationalized  Quick decisions during the Civil war were made without much consultation from other bodies  Organizations created to ensure distribution of food Political Oppression during the NEP:  Censorship (pre-publication censorship) o Russian writers and scholars were deported if their documents were not in line with what the government wanted  Attack on political rivals (Mensheviks and Socialists Revolutionaries arrested) o These parties are banned  Show trials-Mensheviks and Socialist Revolutionaries put on trial and accused of ridiculous crimes and were then killed (sometimes imprisoned)  Ban on political factions o Lenin calls for unity and anyone who was against this was shunned  GPU-Cheka (secret police)  Controlling peasant revolts o Rebel villages crushed  Attacks on the church o Union of the Militant Godless . This resulted in a much more authoritarian party that was far detached from its proletarian base.  The party began to “appoint” its own members to power  1923-nomenklatura o Series of elite governmental and political positions held by the most loyal members of the Bolshevik party.