The russian revolution
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The Russian Revolution. The impact of war 1904-1905: Russo-Japanese war 1914-1917: The Great War The state fails in its most important function Impulse for reform Impulse for a revolution. What’s wrong with the system Inefficiency Backwardness: Russia has not modernized

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The Russian Revolution

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The russian revolution

The Russian Revolution


The russian revolution

The impact of war

  • 1904-1905: Russo-Japanese war

  • 1914-1917: The Great War

  • The state fails in its most important function

  • Impulse for reform

  • Impulse for a revolution


The russian revolution

What’s wrong with the system

  • Inefficiency

  • Backwardness: Russia has not modernized

  • The economy is underdeveloped

  • The political system is archaic, rigid and corrupt

  • Society is torn by tensions and conflicts

  • Fire in the minds of men


The russian revolution

  • Since 1905 – a contest between reform and revolution

  • The inadequacy of reforms

    • The Tsar is reactionary

    • The nobility is stuck in the old order

    • The capitalist class is too dependent on the state, too afraid to show initiative

  • Reforms don’t prevent revolution

  • Revolution drives reforms

  • Reforms:

    • Political (liberalization)

    • Economic (development of capitalism)


The russian revolution

  • The gap between the rulers and the ruled

  • Liberal reforms only stimulate radical protest:

  • THE ATTRACTIONS OF SOCIALISM

  • No consensus emerges

  • When the state resorts to repression, that only makes the gap even wider

  • Russia’s options:

    • A liberal-capitalist path: what it would require

    • An authoritarian-capitalist path: what it would require

    • A non-capitalist path


The russian revolution

  • Russian Communists

  • Russian Social-Democratic Workers Party (Bolsheviks)

  • Lenin: Russia as the weakest link in the world capitalist system

  • Russian capitalism is unviable

  • Therefore, Russia may have to move directly to socialism

  • Overthrow of the old ruling classes

  • Establishing a state run by workers and peasants

  • This will be followed by other revolutions


The russian revolution

  • Few took this analysis seriously until the fall of 1917

  • 8 months between the fall of the Tsar and the October Coup

  • Dual Power:

    • The Provisional Government

    • The Soviets

  • The Provisional Government loses its grip

  • What about the Soviets?

  • The Bolsheviks make their move:

    • Stage a coup

    • Proclaim a Soviet Republic


The russian revolution

  • How is this Republic organized?

  • As a revolutionary dictatorship

  • What it does:

    • Decree on Peace

    • Decree on Land

    • Worker control of industry

  • How it maintains itself

  • The inevitability of a civil war

  • The challenges

    • Old ruling classes fight back

    • Opponents of dictatorship (including many leftists) resist

    • Foreign powers


The russian revolution

  • The Civil War (1918-1920): Reds vs. Whites

  • Why the Bolsheviks won:

  • Their policy goals received wide support in society

  • Their dictatorship was strong enough

    • The Red Army

    • The Cheka

    • The Party

    • Lenin

    • The mass base


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