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Week 2 Notes

by: Victoria Miller

Week 2 Notes HY 362

Victoria Miller

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About this Document

These notes cover week 2, so most of World War I and the October Revolution
Russia-Soviet Union since 1894
Margaret Peacock
Class Notes
history, Russian Revolution, Bolsheviks, Western Civ
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Victoria Miller on Tuesday March 8, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to HY 362 at University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa taught by Margaret Peacock in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 58 views. For similar materials see Russia-Soviet Union since 1894 in History at University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa.


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Date Created: 03/08/16
Week 2 Notes  WWI cont. o Civil Protests on the Streets of Petrograd  A strike movement builds among the urban workers. They strike for wages and food, as well as making political demands to then the war  It’s illegal to strike  Peasants and urban workers have no economic mobility  Speakers at factory meetings begin to complain publically -> also illegal  Women start to mobilize in response to long breadlines  Subversive leaflets written by radical parties find growing audience  Suicide rates increase  Everyone is depressed o Socialists enter the Fray  This was their moment because everyone is pissed of  Use propaganda and agitation  Marx study group o Educated upper class and middle class liberals mobilize in protest  They seek a “government of national confidence” and form a “progressive bloc” inside the Duma to promote this  Nobody thinks government is legit and need to rebrand themselves  Council of Ministers want to work with reformers  Nicholas II’s response is to reject all ofers and instead prorogue (to end) the Duma in the Fall of 1915 o Conservative leaders appeal for change  Murder of Rasputin is a reflection of this efort to force change  High ranking officials give him an entire bottle of wine laced with cyanide and he doesn’t die. So they stab him, wrap him up in the rug, then shoot him 6 times in the head, dump his body in the river only for him to drown o Reticence to Act  Liberals in the press and in the Duma (reconvened at the end of 1916) criticized the government with increasing passion and even hostility  But they were afraid to do more than simply appeal to the tsar to make changes  Strongly committed to principles of legality and feared provoking a popular revolution in the streets  Some Duma members feel hopeless  1917 o February 23, International Women’s Day  Women of Petrograd shut down the factories  Nicholas still thinks he’s hot shit and Russia still adores him  Orders the militia to put a stop to it and shoot at the demonstrators  These soldiers didn’t want to fight  Soldiers decide to mutiny  Refused to fight and handed over their weapons to the protestors  Lay siege to the Peter and Paul Fortress (political prison) o More symbolic than anything o Kind of like the French storming the Bastille in the French Rev.  Council of Ministers and Duma quit and run away  No one reads Nicholas II’s telegrams from the Front o March 2  Nicholas, on the train back to Petrograd, finally abdicates for his brother  Since the 1700s, the rule was he couldn’t pick who succeeded him, so this delegitimizes the whole thing.  Constantine (his brother) refuses anyway  Instead of handing power over, power was dropped and created a vacuum o The Provisional Government  Headed by Alexander Kerenski  Middle-class Duma members formed provisional government  Controlled machinery of government, their real authority was limited  Reluctance about seizing power  The competing power of the Soviets (“Councils”) of Workers, especially the Petrograd Soviet o The Soviet  Formed its own government Central Executive Committee of Soviet alongside the Provisional Government  Leaders were chosen from the intellectuals, not soldiers or workers  Socialist Revolutionary Party was most popular affiliation, not the Bolsheviks o “Dual Power”  Provisional Government runs the State  Soviets really controlled the people, because the people supported them, considered national representatives of the people  If the Provisional Government really had a chance, then there really was a chance for a democracy and the Bolsheviks took it all away, delegitimizing the entire Soviet Union  If the Provisional Government was weak and not supported, then the Soviet was a popular revolution and represented the will of the people  Questions of legitimacy  Leaders of the Soviet also resisted exercising their full authority because they did not believe that they should seek state power o 1. Communism won’t hold unless capitalism is very developed o 2. Time just wasn’t right for a revolution in Russia because of WWI, and the tsar had JUST abdicated o 3. Russian population doesn’t have the infrastructure or education to make the revolution happen o The Situation Deteriorates  Opposition to the Provisional Government grew among workers, solders, and peasants  Workers don’t get bread, peasants don’t get land, soldiers are still dying in a war they don’t want to fight in  Lenin arrives in Petrograd in April  Germans send him and Trotsky on a covered train East so they can destroy Russia from the inside  Lenin calls a meeting of the Bolsheviks o The April Thesis  We can’t cooperate with the Provisional Government at all; it’s forbidden  Doesn’t want to share any of the power  The Provisional Government is already starting to self-destruct and can’t be associated with that  The Bolsheviks are very divided, not like under Stalin o Trotsky doesn’t agree, Kamenev doesn’t agree, most people disagreed o Lenin’s wife agrees  Kerensky’s Summer Ofensive, June 1917  Head of the Provisional Government  Thought it would come before peace negotiations to put themselves in better position of power  Total failure and lots of people die  Pulls into question the power of the Provisional Government  July 1917 o Soldiers take to the street in protest of the war o Yelling “All power to the Soviet!” o Lenin fails to seize power o Provisional Government sends in the troops, arresting lots of Bolsheviks o Lenin flees to Finland and everyone is convinced the Revolution is over  The Kornilov Afair, August 1917 o We don’t actually know what happened o Kornilov says Kerensky told him to come to Petrograd o Kerensky says he thinks Kornilov was marching on the city in order to perform a coup  Arms the Bolsheviks to defend the Provisional Government o Significance:  All the opposing radicals are armed and are given official recognition  Provisional Government is in shambles and can’t defend itself  If the Kornilov Afair hadn’t happened, the radicals probably would have stayed in hiding  Another Soviet election in August o Bolsheviks get a majority in the Soviet  Sept. 1917 Lenin comes back to Russia  Oct. 1917 o The Provisional Government falls to no violent resistance o Who has seized power?  The Soviet or the Bolsheviks?  The people believed it was the Soviet taking power o Lenin creates a new branch of the Soviet called the Council of People’s Commissars  Only Bolsheviks are allowed o New election to the Soviet and the Socialist Revolutionaries win a majority  Lenin pretty much refuses to hand over power because he claims the election was rigged  Socialist Revolutionaries and Mensheviks walk out of the Soviet as a gesture to delegitimize it as a viable government  Lenin don’t give a shit and the Bolsheviks now lead the government o Did the Bolsheviks have popular support when they seized power in October 1917?  Why did the Provisional Government fall? o This was a government deeply committed to democracy and its accomplishments were impressive:  Complete civil liberties were granted  Freed thousands of political prisoners and the old police was abolished  Flogging, exile to Siberia, and death penalty were all abolished  Removed all legal restrictions based on nationality and religion  Social reforms were enacted  Preparations for creating a new democratic and constitutional political system were undertaken o The people didn’t want it o If we accept it, we totally discredit the entire Russian population as being able to control their own fate


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