Lenin and Problems After the October Revolution The initial difficulties faced by the new Soviet Union were to severe that its survival seemed almost miraculous. The remains of the czarist regime left Lenin to face a country wrought with war, devastated economically. Russia's involvement in World War I, followed by its Civil War, wide spread famine and a change in political and social ideology were the problems confronting Lenin after the October Revolution. Lenin did succeed in ending both the war with Germany and the Civil War for Russia. Yet, the economic and social aspects of the revolution can be more critically assessed.
After “Bloody Sunday”, workers all over Russia went on strike, and peasants caused uprisings that were suppressed by Nicholas II’s troops causing tensions to increase. Another reason was his disastrous involvement in World War I. In the beginning of the war, Russia’s armies did not do well. To fix this, Nicholas became the commander. Now under his command, their continued failure reflected the Czar himself, further decreasing his popularity.
The poorer, non-land-owning peasants have lost their jobs shortly after the 1905 revolution due to the new creation of a middle, land-owning class. Furthermore the farming methods were still old fashioned and life barely rose above the starvation level. The peasants were dissatisfied with the situation, leading to social difficulties within Russia. Working conditions for both peasants and the working class have barely improved, resulting an urge for change among many Russians. Their most important desire was the longing for a new leader to replace the Tsar.
Moreover V.I Lenin introduced the “New Economic Policy” in which capitalism and entrepreneurship was maintained, consequently restoring economic, social and agricultural production to pre-revolution levels. The Bolsheviks had inherited stern economic tribulations in 1917. In theory, the October revolution had instigated the triumph of mutual socialism over capitalism, but theory was of minute assistance in the overwhelming economic conditions of 1917 (Michael Lynch 123). Commencing the Bolshevik consolidation of power, Lenin made apparent his dislike for capitalism, but he produced little in way of legitimate economic structuring. Accordingly, the economic policies sustained succeeding to his empowerment were somewhat pragmatic.
In the short-term it is clear that Trotsky had a huge significance in the development of Russia, shown clearly through both his letters and documents, and the opinions of those close to Trotsky. The significance is obvious through his role in the build up to the October Revolution, his negotiations with Germany through the Brest-Litovsk Treaty, his contribution to Bolshevik success in the civil war and his attitude towards terror and his failure to out maneuver Stalin to succeed Lenin. Trotsky was hugely significant in the build up to and during the October Revolution. The first reason was his ability to convince many of the Social Democrats that the revolution was a real possibility, not just a theoretical concept. This is evident through much of Trotsky’s work as the leader of the Petrograd Soviet in September 1917, which saw Trotsky re-invent the Bolshevik plan to seize power, curbing Lenin’s ruthless ambition as he aimed for the swift overthrow of Kerensky .
The revolution opened the door for Russia to fully enter the industrial age. Before 1917, Russia was a mostly agrarian nation. The Russian working class had been for many years fed up with the ways they had to live and work and it was only a matter of time before they had to take a stand. Peasants worked many hours for low wages and no land, which caused many families to lose their lives. Some would argue that World War I led to the intense downfall of Russia, while others believe that the main cause was the peasant unrest because of harsh living conditions.
In the late 19th century Russia had been notably behind Europe economically, they weren’t in possession of the modern farming technologies that could efficiently provide for a large country. As a result 90% of the Russian population were peasants (Massey, 4). The serfs lived in deep poverty; they didn’t have the appropriate apparatus to produce enough crops and most of their landlords had unbelievably high demands. In an effort to reform the economy’s recession tsar Alexander II liberated the serfs. However this created more bad for both the serfs and the nobles.
The peasants blamed the Tsar for not speaking for his people as the peasants felt that he was not doing anything for them Another long-term cause for the attempted revolution was that the government's polices to develop industry, led by Sergi Witte, had disastrous effects on the Russian people. This circumstance was made worse by poor harvests and an industrial slump. The workers and peasants felt that the Tsar was not giving them enough support. At that time, everybody thought that the Tsar was an ineffective ruler and incapable of making important decisions. This is because the Tsar used to personally reply the letters that were sent to him, about complaints, from the Russian people.
As if being taxed for all you were worth wasn’t enough, there were very bad harvests for a couple of years so now they were starving as well! To return the favour, the peasants became violent and started to burn landlords’ houses. Then the Tzar went to war with Japan which he thought would make the public believe in the government again. However, it backfired on him and caused all the same problems again but by a greater degree. That really infuriated the people!
How significant was Lenin’s leadership in the Bolshevik Consolidation of power to 1924? Lenin 's leadership was a crucial factor in consolidating Bolshevik power up until his death in 1924. His pragmatic leadership helped gain some initial support as well as giving him unquestioned authority within the party. Furthermore, his push for the signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk to help save the revolution from foreign invasion was crucial and his practicality was further exemplified through War Communism and the introduction of the New Economic Policy (NEP). The use of terror under Lenin 's rule was also highly effective in removing political dissidents and exerting Bolshevik authority through coercive measures like the Cheka and the Red Terror.