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When Bolsheviks destroyed parliamentary rule

Summary:
They called it the October Revolution because in the pre-calendar-change style it was October 24-25, 2017, but the actual dates, post-change, are November 6-7. Many Communist sympathizers like to imply that the Bolshevik Revolution which started on November 6th, 1917, swept away the Tsar. In fact, the Tsar had already been forced to abdicate after the 2017 February Revolution that began in Petrograd, (later Leningrad and now St Petersburg again), then Russia’s capital city. That revolution replaced the Tsar’s rule with rule by Russia’s Parliament, the Duma. The Bolshevik Revolution substituted rule by the Soviets for rule by Parliament, and established the dictatorship of the Communist Party. Lenin had made his view clear in his 1902 pamphlet, ‘What is to be Done?’ namely that revolution

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They called it the October Revolution because in the pre-calendar-change style it was October 24-25, 2017, but the actual dates, post-change, are November 6-7. Many Communist sympathizers like to imply that the Bolshevik Revolution which started on November 6th, 1917, swept away the Tsar. In fact, the Tsar had already been forced to abdicate after the 2017 February Revolution that began in Petrograd, (later Leningrad and now St Petersburg again), then Russia’s capital city. That revolution replaced the Tsar’s rule with rule by Russia’s Parliament, the Duma.

The Bolshevik Revolution substituted rule by the Soviets for rule by Parliament, and established the dictatorship of the Communist Party. Lenin had made his view clear in his 1902 pamphlet, ‘What is to be Done?’ namely that revolution could only come about via the rule of one strong, dedicated leader or group, and that once it had overthrown the government, the leadership would give up power to allow for the full development of socialism.

The Bolsheviks harried the provisional government that replaced the Tsar, finding ready ears among soldiers who deserted the incompetently fought war against the Kaiser’s Germany, and among the urban poor suffering from wartime food shortages. Their slogan “peace, land and bread” resonated with the dispirited and the angry. The Bolsheviks seized power in November by taking over government buildings, telegraph stations and strategic sites. They convened a second All-Russian Congress of Soviets packed with Bolsheviks and formed a new government.

Far from giving up power, the Bolshevik leadership set up the means to retain it permanently, setting up the Red Army, the secret police, and the street thugs who intimidated and murdered their opponents. They murdered the Tsar with his wife and children to forestall any attempt to restore the monarchy and outlawed all political parties except the Communist Party. Elections could feature only Communist candidates.

Their reign of terror lasted 72 years, as Lenin was succeeded by Stalin and then his successors. It featured mass murder, deliberate starvation and constant shortages of food and shoddy, inferior goods, if they made it at all to the empty shelves of the state shops.

European countries, barring the Communist ones in Central and Eastern Europe the USSR controlled by military might, prospered, especially in the recovery that followed World War II. Analysts speculate what might have happened in Russia had there been no Communist Revolution. It had been developing economically, with industry building up, notably aircraft manufacture. It is likely that modern agricultural methods imported from the West would have boosted food production, in place of the disastrous collective farms that were instituted instead.

It is possible that democracy might have developed as a new middle class enjoying economic success sought to exert political influence and spread liberal values. All of these are speculative “what ifs,” because the Bolshevik Revolution thwarted any chance they had of developing. The 72-year nightmare of aggression and oppression that began on November 6th, 1917, ended with the collapse of the Communist system and, ironically, it was on the same date, November 6th in 1991 that President Boris Yeltsin finally outlawed the Russian Communist Party.

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