By Christopher Read
Written from the viewpoint of the manufacturing unit employee and peasant on the floor point, this examine of Russia through the Revolution 1917-21 goals to make clear the realities of dwelling via and taking part in those tumultuous occasions. The booklet is meant for undergraduate classes in background, Soviet stories, and politics.
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Additional info for From Tsar To Soviets
This reminds us that it was not only workers and peasants who were unused to democratic politics and its associated skills of organization and electoral management. The right was also naive and inexperienced in mass politics and suffered from some of the same diseases as the rest of the political spectrum, notably localism, fragmentation, lack of overall leadership and internal rivalry. There was, for instance, a much better organized and semi-conspiratorial group of bankers, industrialists and centre-right politicians called the Republican Centre, set up in Moscow in May, that had links with government, civil service, army, navy and police, giving it the potential to engage in more energetic and more direct action against the revolution.
The agreement between them laid the basis for government in the first months of the revolution. The members of the Progressive Bloc who now stood at the helm of the new Russia were unlikely revolutionaries. Their main aim had been to try to get the autocracy to implement their programme and, in the process, transform itself. The obstinacy of the tsar had, right to the very end, prevented any such evolution. Instead, they found themselves pushed into the forefront of the revolution, dangerously reliant on the more radical forces grouped around the Soviet.
They believed that any degeneration of the situation into civil war would be disastrous for both the revolution and the country, which would be swallowed up by the Germans. But the cost of avoiding this awful prospect was postponement of the very essence of what they stood for—social revolu tion. The SRs supported land redistribution but could never persuade their propertied allies in the Provisional Government to do anything about it. The Mensheviks, also inhibited by their opinion that the Russian proletariat was too weak and ill-educated to form a solid foundation for a genuinely socialist society, could not proceed to even limited steps in the direction of socialist transformation.
From Tsar To Soviets by Christopher Read