How Far Was The Provisional Government Responsible For Its Own Downfall?

951 words - 4 pages

When the Provisional Government came into power Russia was in a state of major unrest. Russia had just overthrown the Tsarist regime, which had been in place for three hundred years and there were multiple groups who wanted to take power for themselves such as Lenin's Bolsheviks, they were fighting in an endless war and losing terribly, peasants where rebelling in the countryside and the people were angered over food shortages. On top of all these problems the Provisional Government was made up of members of the Duma who had no experience actually being in charge or having power over anything let alone the biggest and most culturally diverse country in the world. All these factors played a role in the downfall of the Provisional Government but overall it was the Provisional Government who played the biggest part in their own failure.
When started the Provisional Government was an interim government which was to govern Russia until a new constitution was drawn up. But as soon as the Provisional Government was put in charge it faced the immediate problem of legitimacy. It was made up of members of the Duma and was dominated by members of the Octoberist and Kadet parties, who were minorities with only one radical member, Alexander Kerensky. This would give the Provisional Government the problem of not truly representing the people. If it was made up of minorities how can it represent the majority? The Provisional Government also faced the problem of the All-Russia Soviet. The All-Russia soviets had claimed the right to issue laws and passed Soviet Issue No.1 which stated that the Provisional Government could not pass a law unless there was unanimous agreement of support from the Soviet. This was a problem for the Provisional Government because this tipped the balance of power away from the Provisional Government making the people question their legitimacy even further.
The Bolsheviks also proved to be a problem for the Provisional Government. During July of 1917 the Bolsheviks carried out a series of premeditated anti-government rallies and strikes. The Provisional Government responded by sending loyal troops to restore order which caused the Bolsheviks to call off the demonstrations. The next morning over five hundred Bolsheviks were arrested and Lenin fled Petrograd. These arrests made the Provisional look strong and helped them gain popularity. But the success of the July Days was short lived due to the Kornilov Affair in August. Kerensky, the leader of the Provisional Government became increasingly paranoid over the rumor that commander-in-chief Lavr Kornilov was planning a government take over. So when Kornilov moved troops into Petrograd to actually forestall a Left-Wing radical take over Kerensky panicked and ordered Kornilov to be arrested and for groups of workers to be armed to aid in Kornilov's take down. Many Bolsheviks were also released from prison to aid the already...

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