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Lenin and the Russian Revolution of 1917

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            The Russian Revolution refers to a number of revolutions which took place in Russian during the year 1917. These revolutions were very instrumental in the destruction of the Tsarist Autocracy and led to formation of the Soviet Union. The first revolution took place in the month of February and it was marked by the deposing off of the Czar and the formation of a provisional government and the second revolution which took place in the month of October was marked by the provisional government being overthrown and in its place was formed the Bolshevik government which is currently known as the Communist government. It is important to note that one man was very influential in the revolutions and he helped in the molding of the post Second World War Soviet Union until the collapsed at the end of the Cold War. His name was Vladimir Lenin (Fitzpatrick, 2001).

            After the February 1917 revolution, Lenin who had been in exile decided to go back to Russian and this was a decision he made with a lot of difficulties but also with a lot of conviction. The difficulties were brought about by the fact that he was living in exile in Switzerland and the First World War was still ranging throughout all the neighboring countries of Switzerland. Through the intervention of the Communist Swiss Leader, he was afforded a rail travel through Germany on the popularly known Sealed Train. It is important to note that the German government agreed to this on the prospects that the return of Lenin to Russia would create instability in the country hence ending the war on the Eastern Front and hence give Germany an upper hand in defeating the Allies because they would concentrate on the Allies only. After he passed Germany, his journey to Sweden was through a ferry and eventually through the Scandinavia through the help of the Swedish communists. At last, he arrived in Russia on April 1917 where he immediately took a leading position with the Russian Communists and he was very influential in their activities. To this effect he published the April Theses which promoted opposition against the provisional government (Acton, 1997).

            Initially he separated his party by ensuring that the party had a leftist outlook through the opposition to the Provisional Government and this ensured that the Bolsheviks was the home of all those who somehow became disillusioned with the Provisional Government and the luxury that the opposition offered. This meant that the opposition had no responsibilities of whatever policies the government implemented. Meanwhile some opponents of the Bolsheviks accused Lenin of being an agent of Germany and these opponents include Aleksandr Kerensky and Grigory Aleksinsky and Lenin and his co-accused were defended by Leon Trotsky on July 17, 1917 stating that Lenin had fought for the revolution for thirty years (Steinberg, 2001).

            After the July Days turmoil, whereby the workers and the soldiers of the government had been clashing, Lenin fled to Finland for the sake of his safety and also to avoid his arrest by Kerensky. The July uprising had not been organized by the Bolsheviks and this can be evidenced by the fact that Lenin stated that the revolution was not ripe even though the workers around the cities were welling and he said that this was because he was waiting for the support of the peasants. At was at his stay that he completed his book by the title State and Revolution. This book was calling for the formation of a government that was based on the councils of the workers which were referred to as the soviets. This government would be elected and revoked at the whim of the soviets.

            In August, General Kornilov attempted a coup which was not successful and this led to the masses rallying to the support of the Bolsheviks. It is important to note that the Bolsheviks had a program known as ‘peace, land and Bread’ which was very instrumental in ensuring that the citizens were supporting them. This led to the release of the imprisoned Bolsheviks and the safe return of Vladimir Lenin. With his return he led the October Revolution and used the slogan ‘All Power to the Soviets.’ This was enough to convince the citizens and Lenin led the overthrow of the Provisional Government between sixth and eight of November, 1917 from the Smolny Institute. However, this was not enough to start the administration of the Bolsheviks and the initialization of the Soviet rule and this would later be achieved through the storming and capitulation of the Palace Winter between the 7th and 8th November 1997. That was the day that the Soviet Rule was initiated in Russia (Lincoln, 1986).

            Lenin’s story can show how leadership of a very strong country could be taken by the virtue of showing concern to the ordinary citizens. Lenin was later to be elected the leader of the government of Russia and this is because he used the masses to rally behind him. It is also important to note that Lenin used to introduce policies which ensured that everybody would benefit from the new government he was about to form. This can be evidenced by some of the slogans that he used which included the ‘peace, land and bread.’ However, most of his success can be attributed to the fact that he used the marginalized people also known as the peasants to show concern for the welfare of the ordinary citizen of the country (Steinberg, 2001).


Acton, E. & Vladimir, C. & William G. R. (Ed) (1997). A Critical Companion to the Russian Revolution, 1914–1921 Bloomington.

Fitzpatrick, S. (2001). The Russian Revolution.  Oxford University Press; 2nd Reissue edition.

Lincoln, W. B. (1986) Passage Through Armageddon: The Russians in War and Revolution, 1914–1918. New York.

Steinberg, M. (2001) Voices of Revolution, 1917. Yale University Press.

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