Describe The Social Changes Under The Bolsheviks Before 1924.

1984 words - 8 pages

The power struggles between the 'great men' of the early Bolshevik rule are well documented. From Prince Lvov to the death of Lenin in 1924, historians have captured, despite attempted erasure, most of the truth behind the events which prompted the Revolution, continued the Civil War and ended policies like War Communism. However, it is imperative to examine the social reverberations from the political changes during that era and to make a holistic judgment as to whether or not the lives of the Russian people, for whom the Revolution supposedly took place, had improved.There are several inherent factors that should be separated from the action of the Bolsheviks. In 1917, the Bolsheviks had just undergone two revolutions, overthrown a monarchical rule of three centuries, then bypassed the Provisional Government and successfully withdrew from a world war. The agrarian country's production in food had decreased by half and the industry was only one fifth of the level from before the war. Though many argue that governmental policies like War Communism and nationalization, the use of terror through the Cheka and propaganda, were cruel methods employed by the party for power at the sacrifice of the people, the linear context of the situation should be noted. Basic attributes of the country already made development, unification and stability difficult. The geography, backward and illiterate society, lack of modernization and industrialization, in juxtaposition to continental Europe, natural disasters and the naturally inhospitable climate, are among numerous reasons why the country, under the Bolsheviks or any other form of government, could not have transitioned immediately into a worker's paradise. So in its historical and circumstantial context, the Bolsheviks did make a significant difference in the lives of workers, women and in the field of education; three elementary pillars to any successful society. Firstly, the Bolsheviks changed the working and living conditions of the working mass. Before the Bolshevik Revolution of November 1917, the working conditions of the average urban Russian was excruciating in both duration and location. The factories were "often badly designed, poorly lighted, illy ventilated, and extraordinarily crowded... Nowhere in the West... would have one come across prevailing conditions as unhygienic and oppressive as those of the pre-war Russia."Though there were no authoritative studies conducted on labour conditions in pre-war Russia, St. Petersburg and Moscow were studied at the beginning of the twentieth century. The St. Petersburg census of 1890 lists 7, 374 underground cellars holding 49, 669 people and 3, 499 garrets for another 21, 804. Situations in Moscow were reportedly worse. Numbers alone mean nothing, but by the measurements above, every worker's space per capita were tantamount to that of a generous coffin. The numbers only rose higher as the cosmopolitans saw greater influxes of migrant workers and...

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