Communism in Russia

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In Russia, efforts to build communism began after Tsar Nicholas II lost his power during the February Revolution, which started in 1917, and ended with the dissolution of the USSR in 1991. The Provisional Government was established under the liberal and social-democratic government; however, the Bolsheviks refused to accept the government and revolted in October 1917, taking control of Russia. Vladimir Lenin, their leader, rose to power and governed between 1917 and 1924.[1] The Bolsheviks formed the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, or the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, marking the beginning of the Russian Civil War between the revolutionary Reds and the counter-revolutionary Whites. In 1922, the Communist Reds were victorious and formed the Soviet Union, making Russia communist. Lenin died in 1924, starting a power struggle which ended with Joseph Stalin seizing power. He was the leader of the Communist Party until 1953. He conducted the Great Purge to remove opponents of his dominance. Stalin died in 1953, and the Soviet Union went through "De-Stalinisation" under the new leader Nikita Khrushchev, though his attempts to improve the lives of ordinary citizens were often ineffective. Khrushchev ruled through the years of the Cold War.[2] Leonid Brezhnev was appointed leader in 1964. Brezhnev governed the era without economic reforms, which led to a national economic decline by the mid-1970s.[3] Yuri Andropov gained power in 1982 and tried to improve the economy by increasing management effectiveness but without making changes to the principles of a socialist economy. Andropov later died in 1984, fifteen months after gaining power.[4]

Konstantin Chernenko led the Soviet Union from 1984 until his death thirteen months later in 1985. Chernenko was unable to consolidate power and effective control of the Communist party. Chernenko did little to prevent the escalation of the cold war with the United States and Western Europe.[5] Mikhail Gorbachev became the last leader of the Soviet Union in 1985 and led until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Gorbachev improved relations and trade with the West and reduced the Cold War tensions. He implemented Glasnost, which meant that Soviet people had freedom they never previously had; this included greater freedom of speech. Control of the press was relaxed and thousands of political prisoners and dissidents were released. Gorbachev removed the constitutional role of the Communist party. This led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union on 26 December 1991.[6] To this day, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation remains the second largest political party after United Russia.[7]

Russian Revolution[edit]

February Revolution[edit]

The First World War placed an unbearable strain on Russia's weak government and economy, resulting in mass shortages and hunger. In the meantime, the mismanagement and failures of the war turned the people and importantly, the soldiers against the Tsar, whose decision to take personal command of the army seemed to make him personally responsible for the defeats. In February 1917, the Tsar first lost control of the streets, then of the soldiers, and finally of the Duma, resulting in his forced abdication on 2 March 1917[8]

On 26 February 1917, citywide strikes spread throughout Petrograd. Dozens of demonstrators were killed by troops. The crowds grew hostile, so the soldiers had to decide which side they were on. As the situation became critical, soldiers refused to work for the Tsar.[8] On 26 February 1917, The Army abandoned the Tsar; the soldiers mutinied and refused to put down the riots.[8]

By 27 February 1917, the workers were in control of the entire city.[8]

October Revolution[edit]

On 24–25 October 1917, the Bolsheviks and Left Socialist Revolutionaries organized a revolution, occupying government buildings, telegraph stations, and other strategic points.[9] On 24 October 1917, the Red Guards took over bridges and telephone exchanges.[9] On 25 and 26 October 1917, the Red Guards took over banks, government buildings, and railways stations. The cruiser Aurora fired blank shots at the Winter Palace signalling the start of the revolution. That night (9:40 PM), the Red Guards took over the Winter Palace and arrested the Provisional Government.[9]

On 27 October 1917, Lenin proclaimed that all power now belonged to the Soviets of Workers', Soldiers' and Peasants' Deputies.[9]

Civil War[edit]

After Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin took over the Soviet Union, many people still opposed the communist party. This led to the Civil War between the White Army and Red Army. The White Army included the opposition party, while the Red Army included the armed forces of the government and people that supported Vladimir Lenin. The Civil War resulted in the deaths of 10–30 million people.[10]

Collapse of the Soviet Union[edit]

In 1991, Mikhail Gorbachev removed the constitutional role of the Communist Party. The Soviet Union, as one might expect, is not fully composed of communists. Because of this it allowed non-communists to take power. As a result, Boris Yeltsin then became the first president of Russia.[10]

After the Soviet Union[edit]

in 1993, the President of the Russian Federation Boris Yelstin disbanded the Supreme Soviet and limited the activities of the Russian Communist Party. Some riots even came to occupy government buildings and attacked the White House. In this assault by some of the protesters, the army intervened; according to some estimates, from 200 to 800 dead.[citation needed]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Daniels, R (2001) [1993]. "A documentary history of communism in Russia: From Lenin to Gorbachev". University of Vermont.
  2. ^ Taubman, Khrushchev & Gleason (2000). "Nikita Khrushchev". Yale University Press.
  3. ^ Dönninghaus & Savin (2014). "Leonid brezhnev. Russian Studies in History". Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  4. ^ Nelson, G (2005). Encyclopedia of Intelligence & Counterintelligence. Routledge.
  5. ^ "Konstantin Ustinovich Chernenko Facts, information, pictures | articles about Konstantin Ustinovich Chernenko". Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  6. ^ "Britannica Academic".
  7. ^ "COMMENT: Duma Elections 2021: Russia's Communist Party looks interesting again". 5 August 2021. Retrieved 30 August 2021.
  8. ^ a b c d Smithsonian Channel (10 September 2012), Russian Revolution in Color – Mutiny in Petrograd, retrieved 16 May 2016
  9. ^ a b c d "Russian Revolution of 1917". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  10. ^ a b "Soviet Union | History, Leaders, Map, & Facts". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 25 February 2020.