November 1917 the Bolsheviks set up an extreme Communist
state. It implemented Communist principles, but it
also brought in
a 'dictatorship of the proletariat', where terror was used to
force people to live like Communists.
The Bolsheviks needed to establish firm rule because their
control of Russia was threatened by a Civil War.
Brett on Bolshevik Russia
BBC debate-podcast on Lenin
Big Changes Create Terrible War)
were held in November 1917 for
a new government – the Assembly. The
Bolsheviks won 175 seats and the Social Revolutionaries won 370 seats.
When it met in 1918, Lenin used the Red Guards to close it, and killed
anybody who objected.
Instead, Lenin ruled by decree
= change from autocratic government
to government by the party
One of the Bolsheviks' first acts was to pass the
Decree on Peace calling for an end to the war with Germany (1917). The Treaty of
Brest-Litovsk gave much of
Russia’s best agricultural and industrial land to Germany – Ukraine,
Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania
= peace not war.
peasants owned their land & workers owned their factories.
tried to make Russian society communist:
religion, destroyed churches and killed priests.
A Labour Law gave workers an 8-hour day, unemployment pay and pensions.
was a huge campaign to teach everyone to read.
was encouraged, and useless subjects like Latin and History were
love, divorce and abortion were allowed.
different morality and style of life.
Bolsheviks created a totalitarian state:
The CHEKA (secret police) arrested, tortured and killed all opponents.
Tsar and his family were killed (or
newspapers were censored.
Lenin called this ‘the dictatorship of the proletariat’ (a
dictatorship was needed until Russia was changed into a
Bolsheviks’ enemies tried to destroy the government, so in 1918-1921 the
new government had to fight a Civil War.
During the war, especially
severe rules were introduced, called
factories taken over by the government.
discipline in factories and strikers shot.
had to give all surplus food to the government.
very harsh tyranny.
artists produced 3,600 propaganda posters in three years - this poster lists the ‘Ten Commandments of the Proletarian’,
urging people to live according to Communist principles.
This Bolshevik poster reads: ‘Beat up the noblemen – and don’t forget
How did life change for Russian people after 1917, including:
a. the nobles;
On November 7 (October 25
according to the Old Calendar), 1917 a new new page
was opened in the book of world history.
It was written by the revolutionary workers, peasants
and soldiers of Russia who proclaimed the country a
Republic of Soviets. It marked the
beginning of a new era ...
In 1917 the peoples of our country began the building
of a new society, the first of its kind.
Agency Publishing House, What is the Soviet Union
booklet sent free to British teachers at the height of
the Cold War. It claimed: '"Information
for Peace and International Friendship" is the motto
of the Novosti Press Agency'
In November 1917 a group
of people called Bolsheviks, led by Lenin, overthrew
the government. They said that they were
doing it for the proletariat (or working class) ...
However, in spite of all the seemingly good things
that Lenin introduced there is much for which he and
the Bolsheviks have been criticised... He
had been in power only for a few days when he decided
to ban all newspapers apart from those that supported
the new government... Most decisions were
taken by a small group of men called the
Politburo. Lenin refused to
negotiate with the soviets, who were the elected
representatives of the workers and in whose name the
Bolsheviks had come to power. Remember the
slogan he used - All power to the soviets?
L Hartley, the
Russian Revolution (1980)
A British school
textbook published at the height of the Cold War.