How did the Bolsheviks stay in
power after 1917?
How secure was the revolution?
• Why did the revolution succeed?
– Hint: what are the pre-requisites for a
• How much of Russia did the Bolsheviks
• How secure was their power?
• What problems were Lenin and the
• What would you advise them to do?
Problems and threats
• Economic Where did the
2nd Congress of Soviets – 24th Oct.
• Mensheviks complain that the revolution
“…military conspiracy was organised and
carried out by the Bolshevik Party in the
name of the Soviets behind the backs of
all the other parties and groups
represented in the Soviets…”
The Mensheviks and more moderate
Socialist Revolutionaries walked out…
Trotsky replied with:
“Go where you belong, to the dustbin of
The official theory Reality
Made up of members of the
Sovnarkom: Central Committee of the
council of Bolshevik Party, chosen by
Lenin is Chairman.
Trotsky is War Commissar.
All-Russian Stalin is Commissar for
Congress of Nationalities.
Local soviets Congress and
local parties told
what to do.
• The Supreme Council of the Economy
• Set up ‘to take charge of all existing
institutions for the regulation of economic
– Centralises control of factories (in theory)
Asserts govt authority where workers have seized
– Nationalises the railways
Improves the transport system
– Cancels foreign debts
• Transitional stage to transfer the economy
from a capitalist to a sociaslist system.
– “The majority of specialists are bourgeois. For the
present we shall have to adopt the old bourgeois
method and agree to pay higher salaries for the
‘services’ of the biggest bourgeois specilaists. All who
are familiar with the situation see the necessity of
such a measure. Clearly it is a compromise measure.”
• A pragmatic response – no coherent plan
for effecting the shift. Marxism implies
everything will just fall into place.
Had Lenin fulfilled his promises?
Why was there a Civil War in
• Why did it occur?
• Why did the Communists win?
• Was there any support for the
Was the Civil War actually advantageous for
Who was fighting?
• Reds • Peasants of different
nationalities fighting for
freedom, food or land.
• Whites • Opponents of the
monarchists, and SRs.
• The Bolsheviks and their
• Greens supporters.
• Detachments sent by
• Foreign interventions Britain, France, the USA,
Japan and other
Reasons for the Civil War
• Collapse of
• Breakdown of
Law and Order
Why might the war be a good thing
for the Bolsheviks?
“Some Bolsheviks would have accepted a socialist
coalition but Lenin was not one of them. The
Bolshevik leader rejected this course and pursued
policies, which, as he well knew, made civil war
Dominic Lieven, modern Western historian
Strengths of the Reds Weaknesses of the Reds
Strengths of the Whites Weaknesses of the Whites
Independent Study Task
• Complete the chart using side 1 of the
sheet on popular support for the
Communists. You must cite evidence from
• Answer questions 1 and 2 in paragraphs
from side 1.
• Answer questions 1-4 on side 2.
• Do NOT do the Activity on side 2.
Hand in on Thursday 24th January.