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, and ended with the dissolution of the USSR in 1991. The Provisional Government was established under Prince Lvov, 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, 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. 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 encouraged political paranoia and 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 December 26, 1991.[6]

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[7]

25 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.[7]

26 February 1917, The Army abandoned the Tsar; the soldiers mutinied and refused to put down the riots.[7]

27 February 1917, the workers were in control of the entire city.[7]

October Revolution[edit]

On October 24–25, 1917, the Bolsheviks and Left Socialist Revolutionaries organized a revolution, occupying government buildings, telegraph stations, and other strategic points.[8]

On October 24, 1917, the Red Guards took over bridges and telephone exchanges.[8]

On October 25 and 26, 1917, the Red Guards took over banks, government buildings, and railways stations. Cruiser Aurora fired blank shots at the winter place signalling the start of the revolution. That night (9:40 PM) the Red Guards took over the winter place and arrested the Provisional Government.[8]

On October 27, 1917, Lenin proclaimed that all power now belonged to the Soviets of Workers', Soldiers' and Peasants' Deputies.[8]


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; 2013;)). "Nikita Khrushchev". Yale University Press. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  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 2016-05-16.
  6. ^ "Britannica Academic".
  7. ^ a b c d Smithsonian Channel (2012-09-10), Russian Revolution in Color – Mutiny in Petrograd, retrieved 2016-05-16
  8. ^ a b c d "Russian Revolution of 1917". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2016-05-16.