Bolshevik party formed an extreme Communist state in November 1917 which applied Communist philosophies but also had in its scheme of things a ‘dictatorship of the proletariat. Terror was used to force public to live like Communists. Bolsheviks had to be extremely firm in their rule because there was a constant threat of civil war in the air. Only tight regimentation could keep the civil war at bay.
Lenin’s State 1917 to 1921
In November 1917 elections were held for a new assembly in which the Bolshevik party won 175 seats and the Social Revolutionaries won 370 seats. In 1918, when the government met Lenin used his Bolsheviks army, Red Guards to close it and killed all who objected to the decision of Lenin.
- Lenin ruled with a dictum which claimed it was a “change from autocratic government to government by the party”.
- Bolsheviks first order was to pass the Decree on Peace which called for an end to the war with Germany in 1917. The treaty of Brest-Litovsk offered the best of Russia’s industrial and agricultural land Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to Germany. The Bolshevik slogan was “peace not war”.
- As the leader of the Bolshevik party, Lenin announced the Communist laws by which the lands were taken over from the nobles and even the Tsar and given to the farmers. The factories in the country were put under the control of elected boards of labourers. The result was “farmers owning their land and labourers owning their factories”.
Changes in the Society
Lenin’s new law for the Russian society was obviously to follow communism. Some other changes that he brought about in the society were the following.
- He barred religion, demolished churches and slayed priests.
- He brought out a labour law which gave workers 8 hours of working time, pensions and even unemployment pay.
- The government held a massive campaign to teach everyone to read and science was encouraged and subjects like Latin and History which were labelled useless were banned.
- The government allowed free love, divorce and abortion which brought in “different life-style and ethics” in the society.
The Hard Stance
The results of the communist state in Russia were regressive rather than progressive.
- The Bolshevik government formed a dictatorial state and CHEKA the secret police of the government detained, tortured and slayed all the opponents.
- The Tsar and his family were killed
- The newspapers were controlled strictly.
- People were not given any kind of political freedom.
The Reason Behind the Dictatorship And Its Effects
Lenin named this as ‘the dictatorship of the proletariat’ and he believed that this dictatorship was necessary to change Russia into a Communist country.
The enemies of the Bolsheviks tried their level best to finish the government and in 1918-1921 the Bolshevik government was confronted with a Civil War. There were many severe rules introduced during the war called’ War Communism’.
- As per this rule all the bigger factories were taken over by the government.
- There were total military discipline in the factories and strikers were shot on the spot.
- Prodrazvyorstka (literally meaning ‘food appointment”) was introduced and according to that the farmers had to give excess food to the government and rationing was introduced.
The rule was considered as a severe autocracy by the people. Though Lenin brought about good changes, it required time. Though it was a government for the people the small group of men in the Politburo were the ones who took all the decisions. He blatantly rejected the elected representatives of the soviets with whose help he had come to power. All this was not well accepted by the Russians and a civil war began to brew up.