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Peace, Land and Bread

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Peace, Land, and Bread
The Bolsheviks’ Rise to Power in Revolutionary Russia

In January of 1917, Vladimir Lenin said that he did not believe that he would not live to see a socialist revolution. Indeed, Russia appeared to be comfortably transitioning in bourgeois democracy. Progressive leaders, Pavel Miliukov and Prince Lvov were taking control of the State Duma, both Leon Trotsky and Lenin were in exile, and their Bolshevik Party’s following had been decimated by conscription. Yet by the closing of that very year, the Bolshevik Party had taken control of Russia and transformed the country into the world’s first communist state, with a very much alive Lenin at its helm. In addition to seizing power against all odds, the Bolshevik apparatus succeeded in crushing its rivals in the following years and created a regime that would survive a global depression, genocide, a world war, and a bitter half-century arms race with a world superpower.
The Bolshevik Party’s ascension to power was enabled by a number of factors which coincided to create a ‘perfect storm.’ Disunity amongst the Bolsheviks’ adversaries contributed to a lack of opposition. Russia’s wartime economy proved to be a major inciter of unrest in both the urban and rural populace. Aid, both intentional and unintentional, from foreign powers bolstered the Bolsheviks’ position. And of course a sizeable amount of luck cannot go without credit. But the deciding factor, which is apparent before, during and after 1917, was Lenin’s adeptness over his rivals at perceiving and playing to the social mood of the masses. Throughout two key phases: the Tsarist command of World War One, and the revolutionary period that followed the overthrow of the Tsarist regime in February of 1917; success on the part of the Bolsheviks and failure on the part of their adversaries in the regard of public perception will be shown to characterise the outcome of the Russian Revolution.
It is important to note that though 1917 was a pivotal year in Russian history, it was not spontaneous. Even before the birth of Karl Marx, Russia had a long history of political uprising. As early as the eighteenth century, the Tsarist regime faced rebellion from the Cossacks. The modern heritage of political dissidence in Russia can be traced to the 1861 with the emancipation of the serfs and the creation of the zemstvos (local councils of farmers). Leftist groups such as the Land and Liberty Society and the Will of the people attempted to foster revolutionary spirit with methods ranging from circulating pamphlets to the assassination of Romanovs. Despite presence in the zemstvos and initiating factory strikes, little progress was made until 1905. From the start, the Russo-Japanese War was unpopular. Viewed as an unnecessary imperial feud, the War quickly degenerated into a farce with the destruction of the Tsar’s eastern fleet. With the Tsar’s fragility apparent, strikes and riots spread. The Tsar realised that he was losing control and reluctantly issued the October Manifesto creating the State Duma to avoid being overthrown. Although the socialists were unsatisfied with the compromise, the revolutionary spirit in the cities had dissipated and the countryside was without leadership. Broken and disunited, insurrection dipped back beneath the surface of the public sphere, left to simmer until the next opportunity presented itself.
Before the outbreak of war in 1914, Russia enjoyed a brief summer of stability. Although progressive at first, the newly created Duma soon lulled into compliance with Tsarist aims. The Duma itself was a far cry from the democratic legislatures of the modern West. Its role as a check against Tsarist rule was undermined by the fact that half of its upper house, the Council of State, was directly appointed by the crown. Moreover, it “was deprived of power to control the budget, of power over army and navy and foreign affairs.” Elections were also heavily favoured toward the wealthy townspeople and the landowners. Despite the Duma’s shortcomings, the masses were peaceful if not content due to some redeeming moves made by Nicholas II. The Tsar introduced policy that boosted pan-Slavic nationalism. Though brutal to minorities living in the Russian Empire, the Tsar’s policy proved so popular amongst Russians that by 1914 even socialists in the Duma were eager to take up arms in defence of the Motherland. Another area of strength for the Tsarist administration was the economy. Rapid industrialisation of cities fostered by the Tsar’s policies kept workers off the streets and generated large-scale growth in the Russian wealth.
Socialist organisations took this opportunity to refocus their efforts and change tactics. After 1905 there were two clear groups of socialists: the Socialist Revolutionaries, a rural-based group whose raison d’être was to secure land redistribution, and the Socialist Democrats, a labour union party. In 1912, the two factions of the Socialist Democrats, Bolsheviks and Mensheviks, parted ways. The Bolsheviks, chief amongst them Lenin, wanted to restrict Party membership to professional revolutionaries in order to create an elite and organised group of committed communists. The Mensheviks felt that Lenin’s approach was too radical and were content representing the trade unions and pushing gradual progress toward social democracy.
Separated from the Mensheviks, Lenin had free-reign over the Party and immediately revamped its strategy. Lenin capitalised on the growth of the industrial sector, thus making use of a seemingly unprofitable situation. Instead of seeking to change the political process from within, as the Mensheviks and Socialist Revolutionaries were attempting to do, the Bolsheviks sought to “discredit the Duma in the eyes of the people” through a targeted system of propaganda. The more that the Bolsheviks convinced workers not to put their faith in the Duma, the more that the Duma was forced to reach out to the workers. Whenever the Duma did try to enact such reforms, the Tsar would step in and dissolve the session, thereby dissuading workers further. This strategy marks the beginning of the Bolsheviks’ manipulation of public sentiment.
The events of 1917 were the result of generations of pent-up grievances against the Russian power structure. The political progress that took other nations decades to complete was undergone in Russia in a single year. A fitting analogy for Lenin’s role in the unravelling of events between February and October of that year might be as the driver of a skidding car on an icy highway: he did not spark the Revolution, but he did manage to control its course. The primary cause of the Revolution itself is the Great War.
The Tsar could not have foreseen the effect of the war in those early autumn moths of 1914. Public support for the war was high, expansion into Galicia and Turkey was beckoning, the enemy was fighting on two fronts, allies included both the world’s strongest army and the world’s strongest navy, and conscription would remove radical elements from the urban centres, maybe even instil a sense of discipline and glory in them. Indeed, the war did prove to be a devastating blow to the Bolsheviks whose leadership was purged by arrests and exile as well as conscription. But things quickly went awry. It became apparent to all parties involved that this conflict would not be settled swiftly. Russia was not prepared for a prolonged conflict. One major issue was the inadequacy of the Russian high command. The uncle of the Tsar, Grand Duke Nicholas, was appointed commander-in-chief; he apparently wept when he heard the news. The entire high command was “steeped in the maxims of Suvorov, the famous general of Catherine the Great who relied on muskets and bayonets;” the Minister of War, believed to be either extremely incompetent or a traitor, boasted that he had not read a military affairs book in twenty-five years; and the chief-of-staff had no field experience. Faced with shortage of munitions, but ample men and land, the generals reverted to the age old Russian strategy of trading lives for time.
In less than six months, the Russian army was in a disastrous state. Artillery was limited to one shot per cannon per day, disorganised troops were surrendering in confusion by the unit, and rifles were so scarce that reinforcements had to wait unarmed under fire until enough infantrymen on the front lines died so that that they could use their guns. Public opinion on the war in Russia immediately soured. Commodity shortages affected the home front as well as the troops and led to mass strikes in the capital. To seize control of the military situation, the Tsar took it upon himself to replace his uncle as commander-in-chief and left for the front lines. However, instead of regaining control of the war, the Tsar’s actions resulted only in further loss of control in Petrograd. In her husband’s absence, the Empress decided to try her own hand at managing the state. Throughout 1916, the State Duma witnessed what has been described as ministerial leapfrog. Under the sway of her spiritual advisor, Rasputin, the Empress demonstrated the Duma’s lack of independence to the Russian public through a series of appointments and firings of top state officials. As the year drew to a close, the Empress, shocked by the mounting social tension in Russia, attempted to dissolve the State Duma altogether under her belief that “Russia loves to feel the whip.” By late December, in a Shakespearian twist, the Grand Duke Dimitry and several conspirators from the nobility poisoned and, when that failed to take effect, shot Rasputin in an attempt to consolidate the monarchy’s support. But by then the damage was done and within a matter of weeks the Tsar would be overthrown.
By misreading Russians’ pride for dedicated patriotism, Nicholas II became entwined in a war that Russia had no hope of winning. After quickly losing control of his forces through misguided appointments, the Tsar sealed his own fate by fleeing an increasingly volatile city and leaving his wife, who was inexperienced in statecraft and out of touch with reality, in charge of his Empire.
The resource drain due to the war, both from demand for munitions and from severance of trade, caused a massive rise in price levels during the cold winter of 1917. By February, the inflation was proving unbearable for industrial workers who could not afford to heat their homes and feed their families. The streets of the capital began to fill with striking workers and women waiting in bread lines. By 10 March, the crowd turned violent and began marching against the Government. When the Tsar was wired news of the uprisings he dismissed it as “nonsense to which [he would] not reply.” Local authorities took action and mobilised the garrisons, only to have the troops cross over to the side of the protestors and fire on their officers. By 12 March it was all over, the February Revolution had been realised.
From the beginning, the Bolsheviks were dealt a weak hand. Most of the leadership was still in exile in Siberia, Trotsky was in New York and Lenin himself was stranded behind enemy lines in Switzerland. Without leadership, the Bolsheviks missed the opportunity to maintain the revolutionary spirit and the day went to the moderates, namely to Alexander Kerensky, the leader of the Socialist Revolutionaries, and to Pavel Miliukov, leader of the liberal-aligned Kadets. As millions of politically inexperienced citizens were handed control of one of the state, they elected familiar names that they knew from the pre-revolutionary times. Even amongst some Bolshevik elements that were present in Petrograd, revolutionary fraternity was strong and there was talk of backing the newly created provisional government for the sake of unity. Alarmed, Lenin wired the Bolsheviks: "Our tactic: absolute lack of confidence; no support to the new government; suspect Kerensky especially; arming of the proletariat the sole guarantee; immediate elections to the Petrograd Duma; no rapprochement with other parties."
The provisional government set up a duality of power shared by the Constituent Assembly (a continuation of the State Duma), under the rule of the Kadets, and the Soviets, made up mostly of Mensheviks and Socialist Revolutionaries. The government enjoyed wide support at first, but dissatisfaction spread when it became apparent that it would not end the war. Another hot-button issue was the land question; with the Socialist Revolutionaries in government, the peasants expected that their long-time grievance on the issue of farm ownership be addressed. Germany, hopeful that a strengthened Bolshevik Party could force the Russia government to surrender, devised a plot to transport Lenin to Petrograd. Upon arriving in the capital, Lenin quickly brought the Bolsheviks back under his control, outlining his plan in the April Theses. He explained that the February Revolution had not solved Russia’s problems and that two things must happen before any revolution is complete: the land must be redistributed and war must end.
By May, the Bolshevik representatives were growing in numbers in the factory workers’ councils, and tensions were once again mounting. Soon thereafter, on 1 July, the Russian army decided to resume the offensive in Austria. After making a slight advance, the Russians were beaten fiercely beaten back. Military discipline vanished and soldiers fled the battlefields. To deal with the insubordination, the provisional government reinstated the death penalty; machined guns were turned around and used to fire on deserters. Angry workers, tired of the inaction of the Bolsheviks took to the streets again in protest. They were soon joined by garrisoned soldiers who were fearful of being sent out to the front lines. As the uprising threatened to become violent, the Bolsheviks reluctantly decided to lead the rioters in order to maintain control. Lenin was fearful of a repeat of 1905 if the tide of revolution in the cities outpaced that in the countryside and broke down; however, he was faced with little choice. Despite being restrained by the Bolshevik leadership, the rioters marched on the government at the Winter Palace and demanded that the Bolsheviks take control of the revolution. Lenin refused to be a part of the coup, knowing that he did not enjoy support outside of Petrograd, and eventually the rioters gave in and left.
Reaction to the insurrection, dubbed the July Days, was harsh. The provisional government, feeling unopposed, came down on the Bolsheviks, whom it blamed for the uprisings, by banning the Party. Lenin was convinced to escape to Finland after rumours had been circulated that he was a German agent. The Bolshevik struggle had been set back immensely, though Lenin’s actions had ensured that the revolution was still alive. A rising star in the Russian army, General Kornilov, would prove to bring an end to the provisional government’s brief period of peace. Backed by many conservatives and reactionaries within the Constituent Assembly and the allied powers, Kornilov promised to put an end to the revolution and restore Russia to stability. In early September, Kornilov attempted to consolidate power by charging the provisional government with treason and amassing some units to march on the capital. Sensing the impending danger, the Petrograd Soviet launched into action by digging trenches and building barricades, alerting the garrison and the naval port, breaking up officers’ organisations, and rearming the workers that had been stripped of weapons after the July Days. Still fearful of counter revolution despite their preparations, the Menshevik and Socialist Revolutionary leaders of the Soviet opted to call the Bolsheviks to their aid, entrusting control of the resistance to the professionals. The Bolsheviks wasted no time. Knowing that Kornilov’s troops would be arriving, they sent out a force of workers to destroy the tracks. As the approaching soldiers were forced to stop, the Bolsheviks met them with pamphlets, explaining the situation in Petrograd and turning the soldiers against their officers. Without a supply of troops, the Kornilov movement was crushed and the Bolsheviks were back in the fold. With the urban masses rearmed and the Bolsheviks once again strong, the only element needed for revolution was a peasant uprising. News of Kornilov’s defeat spread across the Russian army, bringing mutiny along with it. Throughout the early fall army discipline degraded even further. Russian soldiers flatly refused to fight; the few who opted to fire on the enemy were often beaten by other soldiers. By the end of September, every ship in the Baltic Fleet had overthrown its captain and was loyal to the Bolshevik Party. Every day, more soldiers left the front lines to return their homes in the country. Tired of waiting on legislative action from the Socialist Revolutionaries in the provisional government and now Bolstered by the presence of Bolshevik-aligned mutineers, the local farm councils finally took arms against the wealthy landowners. In the cities, factories began to close due to the inability of the inability of the industrialists to meet the demands of their workers. Convinced that these actions were a conspiracy to drive down wages, as the Bolshevik propaganda would have them believe, workers once again took to the streets: the stage was set. Lenin returned to Petrograd triumphant, most worker organisations were now under Bolshevik control and the leaders of the Mensheviks and Socialist Revolutionaries recognised that the Bolsheviks formed a clear majority in the Soviet. Only the Winter Palace remained in the hands of the Constituent Assembly. Despite the government’s last-minute reinforcement of shock troops, Kerensky and the remaining Ministers fled when the Red Guard and the Navy surround the Palace. The victorious Bolsheviks were able to created the world’s first communist society in a nearly bloodless coup d’état. Lenin’s strategy in 1917 can be summed up in his slogan: “patiently explain.” While other factions became scrambled to claim their piece of the revolutionary pie, Lenin urged the Bolsheviks to lay low and manipulate the masses. From this behind-the-scenes position, Lenin was able to gauge social tension and wait for the opportune moment to seize control. The Bolshevik Party was able to inspire wide following by pledging the simple platform that Lenin clearly laid out in the April Theses: peace, land, and bread. The Bolsheviks’ adherence to this bottom line, while their opponents were preoccupied with the various complex operations of running a state, allowed them to realise their goal of instilling a true communist dictatorship.

Word Count: 2 998
Note: dates used correspond to the Gregorian calendar.

Bibliography
Conroy, Mary S. Emerging democracy in late imperial Russia: case studies on local self-government (the Zemstvos), State Duma elections, the Tsarist government, and the State Council before and during World War I. Niwot: Univ. Press of Colorado, 1998.
Curtiss, John Shelton. The Russian Revolutions of 1917. Princeton: Van Nostrand, 1957.
Daly, Jonathan W., and Leonid Trofimov. Russia in War and Revolution, 1914-1922: a documentary history. Indianapolis: Hackett, 2009.
Lenin, Vladimir. Selected Essays of Lenin. New York: Philosophical Library, 1970.
Read, Christopher. Lenin: A Revolutionary Life. London: Routledge, 2005.
Trotsky, Leon. The History of the Russian Revolution. Trans. Max Eastman. London: Haymarket Books, 2008.
Wade, Rex A. The Russian Revolution, 1917. 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.…...

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...HOW PEACE MAY PREVAIL IN MY OWN PERSPECTIVE’’ DOCUMENTATION PRESENTED BY EZEJI GODWIN IKECHUKWU FROM DEPARTMENT OF GRADUATE SCHOOL OF ARTS IN PEACE STUDIES AND DIPLOMACY AT SIAM UNIVERSITY ON 24TH SEP. 2011 = UN PEACE DAY. Fellow citizens of the world, lets make the world a better place for you and for me, for this is and should continue to be the cardinal reason for our coming together. Society is formed when people as social animals, live in group. The person that exercises the state power is known as government. The government issues rules and laws and regulations to govern the realm as well as relationship with other nations, bilaterally and multilaterally. economic, social and religious interest are factors that affects the making of these laws, rules and regulation and its interpretation and implementation locally and internationally which often results to conflict and war hence there comes need to proffer solution for peaceful coexistence in this world we have found ourselves. Peace can be said to be an ideal freedom and happiness within all people and nations. It is a state of non-violence either voluntarily or by virtue of a system of governance that prevents warfare. Peace therefore means cessation of all sorts of hostility by all persons and nations. In certain cases, world peace has been seen and argued as unattainable because human by nature is violent hence rationally men choose to be violent. It remains also a proven fact that human being can change......

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Peace

...Peace domestic violence shelter evaluation plan Introduction In this evaluation plan this paper is to make a comparative analysis of the evaluation processes within a shelter for domestic violence a organization like PEACE. I will also look at how technical and political factors that can affect program planning as well as the evaluation processes. Program evaluation is a carefully collection of data which is about the program and some of the aspects within the program. In this evaluation process I will focus on four pacific aspect which are vital to running a successful program, these would be 1. The needs assessments accreditation. 2. Cost/benefit. 3. Effectiveness. 4. Process and outcome. All these are aimed toward how accurately we can collect and understand the data that is related to our program. There are a number of parties who will use program evaluation report – core team, grant organization, other social groups for case study etc. There are also a number of benefits of a program evaluation, some of them are – * Verification of impact of products and services on customers * Improve the delivery mechanism. Making it more durable and cost effective * Analyze by comparing what we are doing and what needs to be done * Facilitate management thought process and decision-making ability Program evaluation is also connected to the need of the type of information, which is needed to be collected to aid managerial decision-making. Often the management is faced...

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