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Publié le : mardi 27 mars 2012
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TheRussianRevolution,1917
RexA.Wade
GeorgeMasonUniversity,Fairfax,Virginiapublished by the press syndicate of the university of cambridge
ThePittBuilding,TrumpingtonStreet,Cambridge,UnitedKingdom
cambridge university press
TheEdinburghBuilding,Cambridge,CB22RU,UK
http://www.cup.cam.ac.uk
40West20thStreet,NewYork,NY10011–4211,USA.cup.org
10StamfordRoad,Oakleigh,Melbourne3166,Australia
RuizdeAlarco´n13,28014Madrid,Spain
#CambridgeUniversityPress2000
Thisbookisincopyright.Subjecttostatutoryexceptionandtotheprovisionsof
relevant collective licensing agreements, no reproduction of any part may take
placewithoutthewrittenpermissionofCambridgeUniversityPress.
Firstpublished2000
PrintedintheUnitedKingdomattheUniversityPress,Cambridge
TypefacePlantin10/12pt System3B2 [ce]
AcataloguerecordforthisbookisavailablefromtheBritishLibrary
LibraryofCongressCataloguinginPublicationdata
Wade,RexA.
TheRussianRevolution,1917/RexWade.
p. cm.–(NewapproachestoEuropeanhistory)
Includesbibliographicalreferences.
ISBN0521415489(hb)–ISBN0521425654(pb)
1.SovietUnion–History–Revolution,1917–1921.
I.Title:RussianRevolution. II.Title. III.Series.
DK265.W24 2000
947.084’1–dc21 99–056317
ISBN0521415489hardback
ISBN0521425654paperbackContents
Listofplates page vi
Listofmaps viii
Preface ix
Chronology xiv
1 Thecomingoftherevolution 1
2 TheFebruaryRevolution 29
3 Politicalrealignmentandthenewpoliticalsystem 53
4 TheaspirationsofRussiansociety 87
5 Thepeasantsandthepurposesofrevolution 127
6 Thenationalities:identityandopportunity 144
7 Thesummerofdiscontents 170
8 ‘‘AllPowertotheSoviets’’ 206
9 TheBolshevikstakepower 232
10 TheConstituentAssemblyandthepurposesofpower 255
11 Conclusions 283
Notes 299
Furtherreading 314
Index 329
vPlates
1 StreetbarricadeduringtheFebruaryRevolution.Prints
andPhotographsDivision,LibraryofCongress. page 38
2 CrowdburningtheRomanovroyalinsignia.Prints
andPhotographsDivision,LibraryofCongress. 41
3 Avoluntarymilitia.TheHooverInstitution. 41
4 ‘‘TheProvisionalGovernmentatWork.’’Printsand
PhotographsDivision,LibraryofCongress. 54
5 PrinceG.E.Lvov.PrintsandPhotographsDivision,Library
ofCongress. 62
6 AlexanderKerensky.PrintsandPhotographsDivision,
LibraryofCongress. 63
7 AmeetingoftheSoldiers’SectionofthePetrogradSoviet.
PrintsandPhotographsDivision,LibraryofCongress. 65
8 IrakliTsereteli.12,14i15avgustavMoskve;RisunkiIu.K.
ArtsybushevanazasedaniiakhGosudarstvennagosoveshchaniia
(1917)(Moscow,1917). 68
9 VladimirLenin.PrintsandPhotographsDivision,Libraryof
Congress. 69
10 Workers’demonstrationheadedbyarmedRedGuards.
Proletarskaiarevoliutsiiavobrazakhikartinakh(Leningrad,
1926). 94
11 Soldiersparadingwiththeslogan,‘‘NicholastheBloodyinto
thePeter-PaulFortress.’’CourtesyofJonathanSanders. 105
12 Meetingatthefront.NationalArchivesandRecords
Administration. 108
13 Partofademonstrationforwomen’srights.Courtesyof
JonathanSanders. 117
14 Soldiers’wives’demonstration.PrintsandPhotographs
Division,LibraryofCongress. 122
15 Thepeasantvillage.PrintsandPhotographsDivision,
LibraryofCongress. 130
viListofplates vii
16 Estoniansoldiersdemandingtheformationofseparateianmilitaryunits.EestiVabadussoda,1918–1920
(Tallinn,1937). 159
17 Kerenskyaddressingtroopsatthefront.Courtesyof
ColumbiaUniversityLibraryBakhmeteffArchive. 175
18 AbulletholeinaPetrogradtobaccostorewindowafter
shootingduringtheJulyDays.PrintsandPhotographs
Division,LibraryofCongress. 185
19 GeneralKornilovbeingcarriedaloftfromthetrainstation
onhisarrivalfor theMoscowStateConference.General
A.I.Denikin,OcherkiRusskoismuty(Paris,1921). 201
20 Afoodline.CourtesyofJonathanSanders. 218
21 ARedGuarddetachmentonguarddutyattheSmolny
Institute.Proletarskaiarevoliutsiiavobrazakhikartinakh
(Leningrad,1926). 236
22 DamagetotheKremlinfromthefightingduringthe
OctoberRevolutioninMoscow.NationalArchivesand
RecordsAdministration. 252
23 Readingcampaignpostersfor theConstituentAssembly
elections.CourtesyofJonathanSanders. 278Maps
1 Petrograd,1917 page 30
2 EuropeanRussia,1917 51
3eanRussia:majornationalities 145
4 Russia,1917:militaryfrontsagainstGermanyand
Austria-Hungary 176
viii1 Thecomingoftherevolution
The Russian Revolution suddenly broke out in February 1917. It was
not unexpected. Russians had long discussed revolution and by late
1916 a sense existed across the entire political and social spectrum that
some kind of upheaval could happen at any time. The crisis in Russia
was obvious even abroad. ‘‘In December, 1916 and still more markedly
in January, 1917, there were signs that something important and
significant was going on . . . [in Russia that] required exploration, and
the rapidly growing rumors of coming political changes called for more
1accurate knowledge and fuller interpretation.’’ Thus wrote Nicholas
Murray Butler of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in
the United States of the decision to send the Norwegian, Christian
Lange, on a fact-finding mission to Russia at the beginning of 1917.
Still, when the new year dawned no one inside or outside Russia
expected that within two months not only would the old regime be
overthrown, but that this would set in swift motion the most radical
revolution the world had yet seen. This fast-moving and far-reaching grew out of a complex web of long- and short-term causes
which also helped shape its direction and outcome. The latter in turn
profoundlyaffectedtheglobalhistoryofthecenturytofollow.
The autocracy
The Russian Revolution was, first, a political revolution that overthrew
the monarchy of Nicholas II and made the construction of a new
governmental system a central problem of the revolution. At the begin-
ningofthetwentiethcenturyRussiawasthelastmajorpowerofEurope
in which the monarch was an autocrat, his power unlimited by laws or
institutions.Sinceat least theearly nineteenth centurythe Russian tsars
had fought the increasing demands for political change. Then, in 1894,
the strong-willed Alexander III died unexpectedly, leaving an ill-pre-
paredNicholasIIasEmperorandTsarofalltheRussias.
Nicholas came to the throne at a time when a rapidly changing world
12 TheRussianRevolution,1917
demanded vigorous and imaginative leadership to steer Russia through
turbulent times. Nicholas and those he chose to administer his govern-
ment were unable to provide that. Part of the problem was the very
structureofgovernment.Theministersandotherhighofficialswereeach
appointed individually by Nicholas and each reported directly and
individually to him. A ‘‘government’’ in the sense of a group of people
organized into a unified body of policy makers and executors did not
exist. Therefore the emperor had to provide coherence and overall
direction.Thisevenmorecapablemensuchashisfatherandgrandfather
founddifficult.ForNicholas,mild-mannered,oflimitedability,disliking
governanceanddrawnmoretothetriviaofadministrationthantomajor
policy issues, it was impossible. Yet Nicholas clung stubbornly to his
autocratic rights, supported vigorously in this by his wife, Alexandra.
Alexandra constantly exhorted him to ‘‘Never forget that you are and
must remain authocratic [sic] emperor,’’ to ‘‘show more power and
decision,’’andshortlybeforetherevolution,to‘‘BePetertheGreat,John
2[Ivan] the Terrible, Emperor Paul – crush them all under you.’’ All her
exhortations, however, could not make Nicholas a decisive, much less
effective, ruler. They only reinforce his resistance to needed
reforms. Government drifted, problems remained unsolved, and Russia
sufferedtwounsuccessfulwarsandtworevolutionsduringNicholas’two
decadesofrule.Apersonallykindmanandlovinghusbandandfather,he
becameknowntohissubjectsas‘‘NicholastheBloody.’’
NotonlywasNicholas’governmentpoorlyrun,butitgavelittleinthe
way of civil or other rights to the population, who were subjects, not
citizens. The government closely controlled the right to form organiza-
tions for any purpose, even the most innocuous. Censorship meant an
almost complete absence of open political discourse, forcing it into
illegal, often revolutionary channels. Alexander II, as part of the Great
Reforms of the 1860s, had allowed the formation of zemstvos, noble-
dominated local elected councils. These exercised limited rights of self-
government at the local level, including working to improve roads,
primary education, health and medical care, agricultural practices and
other local affairs. However, the monarchs resolutely refused to share
supreme political power with popular institutions and after 1881 re-
stricted the zemstvos’ authority. Shortly after coming to the throne in
1894 Nicholas dismissed hopes for creation of a national zemstvo, a
national elected assembly, as ‘‘senseless dreams.’’ Rather than create a
more modern political system in which the populace became citizens
instead of subjects, with at least a modest stake in political life and the
future of the state, Nicholas clung to an outmoded autocratic view of
God-givenrulerandloyalsubjects.Thecomingoftherevolution 3
Nowhere was the outdated vision of Nicholas’ government more
apparent than in its treatment of the many non-Russian peoples of the
empire. The Russian Empire was a vast multithnic state in which
nationalist sentiments stirred in the late nineteenth and early twentieth
centuries. These initially focused on demands for cultural and civil
rights and nationality-territorial autonomy. The government responded
with repression and ‘‘Russification,’’ a variety of policies limiting use of
local languages, forcing use of Russian, discriminating on religious
grounds, imposing changes in local administrative structures and in
other ways attempting to ‘‘Russify’’ non-Russian populations. These
measurestemporarilyhindered developmentof nationality-based move-
mentswhileincreasingresentments.Whenthemeansofrepressionwere
removed in 1917, nationalism burst forth as a significant part of the
revolution.
The economy and social classes
The Russian Revolution was also, and profoundly, a social revolution.
One reason Russia so needed good leadership was that both the
economic and social systems were in transition and placing tremendous
stresses on the population. Shaken by defeat in the Crimean War of
1854–56, Alexander II launched Russia on a cautious path of reform
andmodernizationknownastheGreatReforms.Thecenterpieceofthe
reforms was the emancipation of the serfs in 1861. Emancipation gave
the peasants their personal freedom and a share of the land, which
amountedtoabouthalfoverall.Thepeasants,however,weredissatisfied
with the emancipation settlement, believing that by right all the land
should be theirs. Their claim on the rest of the land remained a source
aofruraldiscontentanddrovepeasantrevolutionin1905and1917.
In an effort to sustain stable relationships in the countryside and to
preventthepeasants from losing control over their newlyacquiredland,
theemancipationof1861vestedpeasantland ownership,inmostcases,
in the peasantcommune rather in than individualfamilies.The reforms
preserved the peasant village as a largely self-contained economic and
administrative unit. The key decision-making body was the village
assembly, composed of heads of households. The assembly elected the
village elder and other officials, who dealt with the government and
a Extremely diverse rural systems existed in Russia: the landless agrarian laborers of the
Baltic regions, the relatively prosperous emigrants of West Siberia and German farmers
of the Volga, the nomadic herding cultures of Central Asia, the Cossack communities
and others. Discussion in this work centers on the Russian and Ukrainian peasantry,
who made up a majority of the rural population, upon whom both government and
revolutionariesfocusedtheirattention,andwhodrovethepeasantrevoltof1917.4 TheRussianRevolution,1917
outsideworld.Withinthevillagetheassemblysettleddisputesanddealt
with all matters affecting the village as a whole. This included joint
responsibility for taxes and, in the Russian heartland, the periodic
redistribution of land among the village families. These traditional
practices provided a certain equality and security among villagers, but
also worked against initiative and improvements in agricultural produc-
tivity. They also perpetuated a tradition of collective action that then
carriedoverintothelater industrialworkforceandasthesoldiersofthe
revolutionaryera.
Emancipation did not bring the expected prosperity for either the
peasants or the state. Rapid population growth – the population more
than doubled between 1860 and 1914 – in the absence of increased
productivity created new hardships. The condition of the rural pea-
santry varied, but overall little if any per capita economic gain was
made.Moreover,thepeasantry,over80percentofthepopulationatthe
turn of the century, lived always at the edge of disaster. Families could
be pushed over by illness, bad luck or local conditions, while great
disasters periodically swept large regions: the famine of 1891–92 alone
claimed 400,000 lives. Peasant poverty, the persistence of disparities in
land, wealth and privileges between peasants and landowning nobles,
and the peasant lust for the land still held by private landowners fueled
peasantviolenceintherevolutionsof1905and1917.
By the 1880s many Russian leaders came to realize that Russia could
not remain so overwhelmingly agrarian. Industrialization of the country
was essential if Russia were to sustain great-power status in a world in
which power and industry were increasingly linked. In the 1880s the
government took steps to spur industrial development, augmenting
efforts of private entrepreneurs through tariffs, fiscal policies and direct
investment. Russia enjoyed phenomenal growth. During the 1890s
Russian industrial growth rates averaged 7–8 percent annually, and for
the period 1885–1914 industrial production increased by an average of
5.72 percent annually, exceeding the American, British and German
ratesfor thoseyears.Percentagegrowthrates,however,toldonlypartof
thestory.WhileRussianironsmeltinggrewrapidlyinpercentageterms,
total output was still far below those same three countries. Moreover,
labor productivity grew only slowly and per capita income fell in the
second half of the nineteenth century compared with West European
3countries. Russia underwent an industrial revolution in the last three
decades of imperial Russia, but the economic picture could be seen in
either optimistic or pessimistic light, depending on how and against
whatonemeasured.
Industrialization brought with it enormous strains on the society.

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