Segment descriptions
Countries of the World Series
Russia, Part 2
                Description: Russia 2

  Russia, Part 2    

 :sampler  1-53     (59 lecture)

Why do the Russian peasants strongly support the
Bolshevik revolution of 1917 although they do not identify at all with the Bolshevik ideas of the

                  play sampler




Russian Revolution (continued)




The Kerensky government.  The war is going badly.  The bourgeoisie decide the Czar must go.  Czar Nicholas II abdicates.  Aleksandr Kerensky represents capitalist interests, decides to continue the disastrous war.  The bourgeoisie, linked to England and France, want Russia to stay in the war. 




The Bolshevik coup.  Lenin returns to Russia from exile in Germany.  The Bolsheviks are highly organized, use the slogan, "Land, Peace, Bread," which is very appealing to the peasants.  The Bolsheviks seize power in the fall of 1917, and sign peace with Germany, giving up territory. 



The Civil War, 1918-1921.  Attempting to destroy the Bolsheviks, 5 Russian armies supported by Western countries attack Russia from all sides.  They want Russia to stay in the war, but also oppose Marxism as a profound threat to capitalism.  Leon Trotsky leads the Red Army, using the mobility of troop trains, defeats all of them one at a time.  U.S. troops occupy Russian areas. 




War Communism.  Faced with immediate crisis, the Bolsheviks take complete control.  Expressing their fury against the autocracy, the peasants support the Bolsheviks.  The Czar and his family become prisoners, are executed. 




Russia's devastation.  Russia is a wasteland from the destruction of World War I, the Civil War, and being hard hit by the world-wide influenza pandemic. 




Hope for revolutions elsewhere.  The Russian Revolution attempts to jump over the capitalist phase and go directly to the proletarian phase.  Lenin hopes his revolution will be joined by Bolshevik-type revolutions in Germany and other more developed countries, and would then help out the more backward Russia.




Stalinist Russia




After the Civil War.  Russia is alone, surrounded by hostile leadership in the capitalist world, has only a small tight knit dictatorial party.  The New Economic Policy of 1921-1928 is a mixed economy, part socialist, part capitalist.  Exiled capitalists are reluctant to return. 



Lenin dies January 1924 at the age of 53, following an attempted assassination and a series of strokes.  His logical successor is Leon Trotsky, who is brilliant, has broad interests, but lacks political skills.  Joseph Stalin, who is not worldly or charismatic, but is a master politician, becomes Lenin's successor.  Trotsky advocates a struggle for world revolution.  Stalin's message is to build socialism in one country.  Trotsky is forced into exile and eventually assassinated in 1940.