Chapter 5- The consolidation of the communist dictatorship (Ending…
Chapter 5- The consolidation of the communist dictatorship
The removal of the Constituent assembly
Why was there a constituent assembly vote in the first placed what was the result?
Having previously attacked Kerensky for postponing elections for a Constituent assembly, Lenin permitted elections in November 1917
Over 41 million votes were cast and the Social Revolutionaries came out 53% of the vote leaving the Bolsheviks with only 24%
Lenin promptly declared “elections mean nothing”
The first meeting of the assembly (5th January)
The Kadets had been outlawed for supporting Alexei Kaledin who had started a counter-revolutionary rebellion
The Bolsheviks proposed the assembly be chaired by a left-wing Social revolutionary, however, the right-wing Social Revolutionaries where in the majority and chose Viktor Chernov
Why and when was the assembly closed?
The assembly was forcibly closed after the Bolsheviks did not get their way and never met again
What were the reactions to the closing of the assembly?
Civilians demonstrated against the action, they were fired on and 12 were killed
What was the problem with the closure of the assembly?
Opposite to communism ideological principle of ‘power to the people’
Lenin claimed that his government represented the ‘people’, and a higher form of ‘democracy’, however, some Bolsheviks and foreign socialists showed concern
Other ways the Bolsheviks showed that other political parties were worthless
The decree on pressing October 1917
It curbed the ability of parties such as, the Mensheviks and Social Revolutionaries, making it difficult for them to exist
The bourgeoisie (middle class) lost their right to vote in July 1918
By 1921, after the civil war, all other political parties were banned
Ending Russia’s involvement in the First World War
Why did they accept such a harsh treaty?
The Bolsheviks came to power promising peace, which was never going to happen as Germany was already occupying large areas of Russian territory and would demand large concessions as the price of a cease-fire
Why was there a disagreement between Trotsky and Lenin?
Trotsky was hesitant in accepting peace if it meant harsh terms for Russia, but Lenin was said not to be as concerned about this
Lenin believed the revolution would soon engulf Germany, making the peace agreement a temporary arrangement
Lenin knew the Russian army couldn’t stop the Germans, and a compromise with the enemy seemed the only way forward amd a price worth paying to preserve what the Bolsheviks had already accomplished
Negotiations of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
Negotiations of the armistice started in December 1917 led by Trotsky, he dragged the proceedings on probably hoping for a German revolution, especially if their war effort in France and Belgium failed
Trotsky called his approach ‘niether peace nor war’ which angered the German negotiators since they knew that the Bolsheviks were using propoganda to stir up a revolution in Germany
After the negotiators became tired of Trotsky stalling they began to continue their advance into Russia so an agreement was made, the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was signed on the 3rd March 1918, and were ratified with an emergency party congress
Lenin threatened to reign twice before the treaty was signed
Terms of the treaty
What did Russia lose?
Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Bessarabia, Georgia, Belarus and the Ukraine. Germamy intended to make them economic and poilitical dependicies
⅙ of its population, 2 million square km of land including the area where ⅓ of Russia’s agricultural produce was made, 26% of its railway lines and 74% of its coal and iron supply
Russia had to pay 3 million roubles to Germany
Division in the Bolshevik party
Stalin, Trotsky and Zinoviev supported Lenin on the Party’s Central Committee, Kamenev, Bukharin and Dzerzhinsky voted against him and the terms were only agreed by a majority of one
The Bolsheviks also found themselves divided with Bukharin leading the ‘revolutionary war group’, a group who believed that Russia should fight on to protect both itself and socialism
Lenin agreed it was a ‘robber peace’ but argued russia had to face the ‘naked truth’, but some Bolsheviks did not accept this view
How did the treaty lead to a one-party state and how did this set a precedent for the future?
Left-wing Social Revolutionaries argued greatly against
Social Revolutionaries walked out of Sovnarkom to protest the treaty, in March
The agreement of the Treaty set a precedent for future action by establishing that socialism at home would take priority over the spread of the revolutionary
The Bolsheviks adopted the title of the ‘Communist Party’ in March
The consolidation of the one-party state
Sovnarkom issued several decrees in the first months of 1918, these helped them define the new one-party state what were some of them?
The old Red Guards were demobilised and the Red Army was formed out of workers and peasants to protect the regime and Trotsky became the leader in March
In January 1918 workers were put in charge of her railway
The seperation decree removed the Church’s judicial powers and its right to own property and many assets were siezed
Russia also moved to the Gregorian calender in February 1918, firstly to bring Russia into line with the rest of Europe and also was a statement against traditional religious practice
Decrees nationalised industry and abolished most types of privcate land ownership unless the profit made was used to the benefit of the community
Where was the capital of Russia moves and why?
Moscow to make it more central
The 1918 Constitution
Limitations in the democracy of the constitution
While officially Sovnarkom was officially chosen by the Congress it was really appointed by the Bolsheviks Party Central Committee
The congress only met in intervals so authority remained in the hands of Sovnarkom
The vote was reserved for the ‘toiling masses’ and the ‘exploiting classes’ were excluded
The Party was centralised and the real focus of power was the party
One worker vote had the worth of five peasant votes in the election to the All-Russian Congress of Soviets
When was the first Soviet Constitution for the ‘Russian Soviet Federal Socialist Republic’ proclaimed, and what was it meant to do?
July 1918 to oversee the transition to a socialist society, which said that supreme power rested with the All-Russian congress of Soviets
The congress was also made responsible for electing Sovnarkom
How did this effect people in the old Russian empire?
Despite the term ‘Russian’ the constitution welcomed the non-Russian nationalities that used to be part of the old Russian Empire, however, many people amongst the groups who did not want to be part of the Russian-controlled state