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"Why Wasn't The Provisional Government Able To Stop Lenin And The Bolsheviks In 1917?"

1209 words - 5 pages

The Provisional Government wasn't able to stop Lenin and the Bolsheviks in 1917 because of its inability to gain support from all sections of the population. Many factors contributed to the Provisional Governments downfall. Most importantly was their decision to continue the war, their failure to act upon the urgent social and economic problems, the fact that they were weakened by the actions and authority of the Petrograd Soviet, and the rising influence the Bolshevik's had on the people.The authority of the Provisional Government had been completely undermined by the disastrous policy of defeatism - continuing the war. Military defeat, mutiny, insurrection on the front, continued food shortages, inflation and the collapse of order and authority at home had been the result. Factory owners used the Bolshevik defeat in July as an excuse to apply discipline on the shop floor. Consequently strikes had occurred, productivity had fallen, food had remained scarce, wages had not kept pace with rising prices and fuel shortages continued. The people began to get impatient once again, demonstrating their discontent. Events even not of their own making continued to work in the favour of the Bolsheviks. Nikolai Sukhanov, a Menshevik member of the Soviet Executive Committee went so far as to state that the rise of the Bolsheviks had less to do with 'Bolshevism' and Lenin's ideas, more-so a general dislike for Kerensky and the policies of the Provisional Government.The Provisional government had delayed any real effort to solve the problems of the Russian agitation or the plight of the peasants. The Land Committee established in May 1917, to direct and supervise land reform degenerated into a rabble of well-meaning, but ignorant revolutionary enthusiasm. The need for a strong government in the provinces was oblivious to many, but the Provisional Government failed to take this opportunity to secure control. In this context the Bolshevik slogan of "Peace, Bread, Land" proved effective. More importantly, in the urban centres the proletariat was systematically coming to embrace the Bolshevik cause. In September 1917 the Bolsheviks won majorities in the Petrograd and Moscow Soviets. Kerensky's fate was 'sealed'. Lenin argued that the time had now come for the transfer of power to the soviets, although in reality he had no love for this institution, rather, he recognized that their capture would provide the institutional basis for the seizure of the entire government by the Bolsheviks. The slogan "All power to the Soviets" should have read "All power to the Bolsheviks".Kerensky's announcement of elections on 25th November for the long promised but much delayed Constituent Assembly triggered Lenin into action. On 20th October 1917 Lenin secretly returned to Russia from Finland, and after heated debate he convinced the majority of the Bolshevik Central Committee that the Bolsheviks must seize power without delay. In preparation, the Bolshevik delegates walked out of...

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