The main stages of the Great Russian Revolution

A.V. Shubin

What is the Great Russian Revolution?

The Great Russian Revolution is a socio-political phenomenon of the former Russian Empire which began with the overthrow of autocracy in March 1917. Traditionally, two different "February" and "October" revolutions are distinguished. But isn't it too often for 1917? Furthermore, even the contemporaries realized that there was a revolution not only in February and October, but all through 1917, for example in the summer. It is also obvious that the revolution was not finished even when the Bolsheviks took over the government. "Classic" revolutions, including the Great French and Russian Revolution of 1905-1907 are lasting processes: there is no need to split the French Revolution into "revolutions" of 1789, 1792, 1793, 1794. Thus, the "February" and the "October" revolutions are only stages of the Great Russian Revolution.

A revolution is usually a process which polarizes the society and causes confrontation between the lower classes and the elites. However, not any conflict can be defined as revolution, but the one with a special concern to principles of organization of the society and its system-forming structures. Revolution begins if the ruling circles become incapable to eliminate the social structures which block further development of society by means of reforms. Thus the old structures are destroyed and social formation involves wider masses to create new social foundations. Surely, the revolution is not the "driving force of history" – it does not create the whole new society. The revolution is the "ram of history", which destroys obstacles of social development.

The socio-political revolution can be defined as a nation-wide socio-political confrontation over the system-forming institutions of society, in which social work overpowers the existing legitimacy. The confrontation begins with the destruction of existing system of institutions and legitimacy and ends when a new legitimate system of institutions is established. After that, the overwhelming majority of people who might not even agree with the outcome of the revolution start to realize their aspirations within the framework of the new institutions and live according to the new rules.

The destruction of the institutions of the Russian Empire began in February-March 1917 and revolutionary events continued up until 1922. The end of the revolution can be dated by the formation of the USSR and beginning of a new period of national history – the history of the USSR. By this time the solutions to key issues of the revolution: the government formation, agrarian supplies, workers issue, national policy – were found and the new state forms, new legitimacy, the elaboration of rules of political posturing and social behavior finally settled.

The Great Russian Revolution has passed a number of stages, some of which are traditionally called revolutions:

  • The "February" revolution of 1917 (23 February -2 March 1917);
  • The development of the revolutionary movement during the Provisional Government (2 March – 25 October 1917);
  • The "October " revolution and the formation of Soviet government (25 October 1917 - May 1918);
  • The large-scale Civil War and intervention (May 1918 - November 1920);
  • The attempts of "Third revolution". The end of the Civil War, intervention and revolution (autumn 1920 – 30 December 1922).

The notion "The Great Russian Revolution", which appeared in 1917, today no longer expresses admiration. The revolution was a complex phenomenon followed by violence that resulted in a protracted Civil War. The word "great" highlights the scale of the phenomenon and its impact on world development, which puts the Great Russian Revolution in a row with other greatest events in world history.

February 1917 - Formation of the Revolution Structure

Historians can't reach an agreement on whether Russia could solve its problems without revolution. Some highlight the success of modernization, the others appeal to its social costs. However, even a successful modernization can lead to a revolution, as a turn from a traditional agrarian community to an industrial urban society is always painful. Furthermore, the success of modernization in Russia in late 19th - early 20th century was incomplete: on the one hand, due to inconsistency of the reform of 1861, and on the other, due to peripheral place of Russian economy in the world division of labor. In the early 20th century the turn toward an industrial society accumulated "fuel" for social explosion, and the ruling elite was not ready for serious changes. Thus, as 1905 had showed, the revolution in the early 20th century was inevitable. The major crises the country faced in the early 20th century were called "issues". The main reasons for beginning of both revolutions of 1905 and 1917 were the agrarian supplies and “workers'” issues, aggravated by the lack of effective links between the government and the society (the “issue of autocracy”). The crisis of interethnic relations (the “national" issue) also played a significant role. The Revolution of 1905-1907 and subsequent reforms did not resolve these contradictions sufficiently and couldn't prevent new revolution ought to find the final solution for the "issues." The new revolution was expected, but the time to start was of outmost importance. The revolution could start in time of peace if not the World War I that broke out in 1914. Obviously, it would be a different revolution then. The protracted war disorganized the socio-economic system and militarized the society and affected the nature of the revolution as the soldiers played an important role from the very beginning. The revolution began in February (according to the Julian calendar) 1917 with the workers' unrest, which provoked soldiers uprising in Petrograd. Revolutionary groups and the liberal elite were active at the same time. It is broadly discussed in literature, what influenced the course and outcome of the "February" most – the spontaneous movement of the urban masses or the elite and military takeover, resulting in the abdication of Nicholas II.

The revolt gave the possibility to the liberal elites, including the military officers, to start implementing their liberal project. The Provisional Committee of the State Duma and the military authorities soon lost control over the events. The revolution, considered by the political elite as liberal overthrow, from the very beginning was of social character: the basic issues of 1905 have never been resolved. Almost simultaneously with the Provisional Committee of the State Duma, the Petrograd Soviet of Workers 'and Soldiers' Deputies was formed, giving the revolution two centers: liberal-elitist and social, socialist. The first was based on urban elites and the generalship, the second – on workers and soldiers. After the establishment of the Soviets, it was no longer a question of riots or political overthrows, it was a question of deep social revolution involving the struggle of broad social strata for changing the very principles of the country's socio-political system. This dual nature of the revolution remained after the abolition of the autocracy, gradually transforming into synthesis. The liberal Provisional Government coexisted with the network of Soviets. This period is known as the "period of duality of power". This term is applied considering the autumn of 1917, when the Soviets took their part in the deposing of the government. But in the spring of 1917 the situation was different. "The duality of power" presupposes the conflict of its centers. However if these centers peacefully coexist and support each other, this is the power-sharing, not the “duality of power". In the spring of 1917, such duality was perceived as a threat, not reality. The Provisional Government admitted that it had to reckon with the Soviet's opinion, even though it refused direct interference from below into its activities, which could actually result in "an unacceptable duality of power". The functions of the national center of power were performed by the government. The Soviets were significantly more influential at local level that is characteristic of self-government bodies. They supported the government as it was "progressive". This support vanished during the April crisis, but it did not result in "the duality of power", but established a government of socialists. The polar parties of the revolution reproached.

Coalition Alternatives

Liberal leaders were widely known for their parlamentarian activities in previous years. The popularity of socialists grew due to their sympathetic slogans of redistribution of land, social guarantees and political freedoms arising hope in peasants and workers. The masses expected that the Constituent Assembly would soon solve the main problems of the country. In these conditions of democratic agreement, the Bolsheviks had little chance for success. But how did the Bolsheviks win in the autumn? Only because their opponents lost. History gave liberals and socialists a chance that they missed. But why? The established political regime was based on an agreement between the government and the Soviets. The cooperation of liberals and moderate socialists allowed carrying out political actions aimed at expanding civil liberties, but hampered social reforms: liberals and socialists viewed the necessity of social changes differently. These measures were clearly not enough to stabilize the situation of the aggravating social crisis in cities and the desire of peasants to obtain lairds’ lands. While the liberals struggled for power with the autocracy, they stood for the government liable to the parliament. However, on gaining power, the Provisional Government disempowered the Duma. The anti-parliamentary overturn deprived the government of institutional support and practically betrayed liberal principles. It weakened liberalism in the conditions of continuing war to victory and the liberal program, based on protection of private property and contradicting the public hopes of the broad masses, could be foisted on them only by force. But the liberals were weak: the soldiers were eager for peace, did not trust the officers and were not ready to participate in the military coup.

The growing influence of the socialists was also based on their ideological hegemony, effective propaganda. But obviously, such "cultural hegemony" was possible as long as resonates with the aspirations of the masses. The socialists saw that the liberals lacked the influence and didn’t wish to carry out even general democratic reforms. But at the same time, without a compromise between the radical masses of the working people and the "census elements", the wealthy intellectuals and businessmen, capitalist society could disintegrate. Moderate socialists didn't think it possible as yet to replace capitalism with socialism. It meant that the working classes required the alliance of their representatives (socialists claimed this role themselves) with representatives of the bourgeoisie (the role left by the socialists to the liberals). However, the desire of the socialists to consolidate the society stumbled over its growing polarization. The liberals blocked the proposals of social reforms from some socialists, such as the prohibition of land transactions before the Constituent Assembly convocation, the introduction of planning for industrial production, etc. The government for its most part advocated the postponement of social reforms until the convocation of the Constituent Assembly. The liberal-socialist coalition became incompatible with the reforms and led the February regime to a catastrophe. In the midst of the aggravating socio-economic crisis and the government's inactivity, the desperation of workers and urban lower layers only grew. The Bolsheviks took the job to represent the desperate masses, and time began to work for them. The authority of the government was fading. Since the government did not rely on representative bodies of power any inter-party conflict could lead to the disintegration of the system of authority and dangerous street conflicts. The left-wing side of political spectrum supported the idea that the Soviets congresses could act as temporary parliaments being the source and support of power before the convocation of the Constituent Assembly.

The Soviet alternative emerged under the hegemony of the socialist parties and began to act as Russian form of democracy. At the same time, moderate socialists who maintained leadership in the Soviets until the autumn of 1917 realized that lower-level self-government bodies do not represent the majority of the population. However standing up for the passive majority and trying to gather the broadest possible social base for the elections to the Constituent Assembly, the moderate socialists lost the support of the active minority, on whom the fate of political power depended. The sympathy of the urban lower classes was attracted to the Bolsheviks, who advocated immediate and decisive changes. Yet, in early July (during the July crisis) and in early September (immediately after the defeat of Kornilov), the Bolsheviks could still be involved in a left-wing socialist government backed by the Soviets. Such a scenario would inevitably affect the position of the Bolshevik leaders. The responsibility taken by the ruling party makes it more moderate, more a right-wing party. It was confirmed by the subsequent actions of the Bolsheviks after they came to power. The creation of a center-left Soviet government would accelerate social reforms, which would temporarily deplete the situation at the decisive moment of the election and convocation of the Constituent Assembly. But moderate socialists refused the chance to negotiate with the Bolsheviks. However, the alternative of a multi-party socialist government was discussed even in November 1917, again unsuccessfully. Social changes backed by the masses of workers (organized in the Soviets or not) were possible as long as there was a compromise between the Socialist-Revolutionaries (SRs), the Mensheviks and the Bolsheviks (gaining influence by immediate start of agrarian reform with subsequent confirmation of its principles by the authority of the Constituent Assembly) and the combination of state regulation with simultaneous participation of workers in production management, formation of social state institutions. Under conditions of war it was vital to elaborate the conclusion of truce and to start negotiations on peace without annexations and war indemnities. The political formula of this strategy was the idea of a "homogeneous socialist" government, subordinated to the Soviets or the broader provisional parliament created on their basis. This was the only way to break the deadlock tangled by irresponsible, and at the same time (and largely due to the irresponsibility and detachment) powerless government. While the coalition of socialists and liberals was wasting time, the situation turned out in Bolsheviks favor. Despite the defeat during the political crisis of 3 July and the subsequent repressions and rumors about the ties of the Bolsheviks with the German command, Bolshevism managed to revive and multiply its influence. There were objective reasons for this. Firstly, with the defeat of the left-wind radicals, the reasons of the growth of their influence were not overcome. The Socialist parties under the leadership of A. Kerensky restored government coalition with the liberals. This coalition pursued almost the same policy as the previous one. The socio-economic situation aggravated.

Secondly, the political system was destabilized by the conflict between the chairmen of the government A. Kerensky and Commander-in-Chief L. Kornilov on 26 August-1 September. The right-wing politicians relying on Kornilov hoped to establish the “firm order” and resolve the problems threatening the country by militarization of the rear, defeat of the Soviets and improvement of the army discipline to restore its ability to attack. On Kornilov’s order A. Krymov’s cavalry corps advanced to Petrograd to dismiss the Soviets and the left-wing parties and probably the whole government. The military action brought the left-wing part of the society to reaction: The Soviets, labor unions, army committees, socialist parties and movements (including the Bolsheviks) mobilized thousands of soldiers, sailors and workers to fight against Kornilov. The troops approaching the capital were subjected to agitation by the Petrograd left-wing activists, who explained to the soldiers the counter-revolutionary nature of their actions. Soldiers were against the continuation of the war and the introduction of strict discipline, proposed by Kornilov. Left agitation was a success, and Kornilov's actions failed. Kornilov was arrested on 1 September. The same day Russia was proclaimed a republic. The Kornilov affair again disturbed the balance in the governmental system. The Bolsheviks returned to the position of one of the leading parties. The possibility of creation of a multi-party socialist government was discussed to start the necessary social reforms. On Democratic counsel of the left-wing and democratic circles in September the left-wing government supporters from different parties were not able to consolidate. It was to a large extent due to the indecisiveness of some politicians, the lack of power of others and mutual, often purely personal distrust and hostility to each other among them. As a result of the counsel an unsubstantial “Pre-Parliament” (Council of the Republic) was established to support the government. Contrary to the position of his party of the SRs, the Prime Minister Kerensky created a government coalition with the Cadets on 26 September. This led to the narrowing of the political base of his government, since it was no longer supported neither by the Cadets' leadership nor by the left and centrist wings of the Socialists. The Bolsheviks, taking advantage of government inaction and in the face of the crisis, began to take control of the Soviets. The last chance of the right-wing opponents of the Bolsheviks to regain the leadership in revolution was lost. Their ideological hegemony gave way to the hegemony of the Bolsheviks - their slogans corresponded better to the active radical hopes of the masses.

Here I'd like to have a little debate with a prominent historian Alexander Rabinovich, who yesterday in our dialogue argued that a homogeneous socialist government could not survive in those conditions. But we have precedents, when the leftist coalition remained for a long time and in less favourable conditions – in Spain in 1936-1939, and in Chile in 1970-1973. And in September 1917 was critical a few months and the conditions were much better than in Spain and Chile, as the Russian "francoistas" and "pinochetistas" has just been crushed, and they needed almost a year to recover their power potential. Thus, I have every reason to believe that if a multiparty socialist government would be established in September of 1917, it had real opportunity to resist before the convening of the Constituent Assembly, scheduled for November 1917. And this would consolidate the first results of social change of the left coalition by authority of the majority of voters. Of course, later, this coalition would wait for hard times, but the autumn of 1917 was a critical period in the development of the revolution, and there is a chance to complete a revolution without a large-scale civil war.

But the chances of saving the Kerensky government until the Constituent Assembly tends to zero. Kerensky could not simply wait for the convocation of the Constituent Assembly, since the Bolsheviks announced the change of government at the Second Congress of Soviets of Workers 'and Soldiers' Deputies. Before the congress on 26 October the government attempted to undertake force measures, which gave the Bolsheviks a desirable occasion to use the troops on their side. The "defensive" character of the insurrection gave the Bolsheviks an additional argument in the struggle for the Second Congress of Soviets of Workers 'and Soldiers' Deputies, which was to become the supreme body of the new government. The popular idea of the Soviet power allowed the Bolsheviks to rely on broad lower society radical movement, which was not controlled by the party centers. The soldiers supported the Bolsheviks as they urged to end the war with Germany. Until the very end the Provisional Government was following the course which led the liberals and socialists to defeat: they postponed the necessary social reforms and didn’t want to meet the demands of broader masses to fight determinately for the peace without annexions and contributions.

The October Phase of the Revolution

In the Soviet time the Great October Socialist Revolution was considered the key event of 1917. Today such interpretation is considered ideological. However if we consider the events of the autumn 1917 as a stage of the Great Russian Revolution we have to define if it really was socialistic in its character and how do the October Coup and the October stage of the Revolution (the "October Revolution") relate. The October Coup was completed in Petrograd on 24-26 October 1917. The Bolsheviks made a big move: they dared to seize the power themselves but on behalf of the Soviets and proclaim not only the political ideas of their own but of different left-wing forces, which allowed them to lead not only “theirs” but also the left-wing masses. This was the way that formed the “genetic code”, the October “formula” – communist regime + Soviet society: the synthesis of Bolshevik modernization project and all socialists soviet ideals of self-organization, democracy, equality of workers and their authorities, considered now as “servants to the people”, not the masters. The Bolsheviks proclaimed not their own communist power but the Soviet power. These are the two faces of the October – the communist and the soviet, and they do not match. The Bolsheviks represented narrow socio-political specter but the popular idea of Soviet power allowed them to rely on broad radical movement of lower society. Not only Bolsheviks but left-wing SRs and some Anarchists and Mensheviks fought for the Soviet power. Short period of “dualism of power” in autumn of 1917 lead to the expansion of the Soviets full powers: the new government - the Council of People's Commissars - allowed them the local social formation.

The October Coup in Petrograd gave start to the new stage of the Great Russian revolution, which is traditionally called the “October Revolution”. During this stage lasting to the spring of 1918 the Soviet power was established in Russia and the first reforms were finally undertaken. Supporters of the Soviet power at once showed their eagerness to resolve the main problems of the country. However there was nothing socialistic about the first decrees of the Soviet government. The new stage of revolution was the continuation of the previous one and carried out the tasks, set by more radical than Bolsheviks right-wing parties – the SRs and the Mensheviks. The first relatively socialistic measure taken by the Bolsheviks – the Regulations of the Worker’ Control of 14 November – was very moderate. The first decrees of the Soviet power were not able to change the attitude of the voters, especially in the countryside. Since they couldn’t get the majority on the Constituent Assembly elections, Bolsheviks and left-wing SRs undertook its closure. The weakness of the Assembly defenders and weakness of the White movement in this period showed that the active part of Russia’s population, including the peasantry, was actually ready to accept the Soviet alternative. However with the closure of Constituent Assembly the system of public interest negotiation was destroyed and the country faced the perspective of a large-scale civil war, ready to burst on any serious challenge. Radical supporters of the socialism gained the power. What were their socialistic reforms? Socialistic theorists discussed two ways towards post-capitalistic society: by means of conveyance of industrial sites to workers under self-management (from below) or through the economy being socialized into a single system, working on a single plan (from above). Both ways were considered compatible. However the Bolsheviks were not able to build up a system, based on the self-management balance, lower strata initiative and industrial democracy on one hand and the unity of the economic system and ways of its regulation on the other.

In 1917 V. Lenin, just like the Anarchists, expected that self-organization of the masses guided by the communists and their allies would create the basis for the communist relationships. According to the Marxist theory those relationships were supposed to be naturally produced by the collapse of the capitalism. The Bolsheviks hoped that Factory committees, Workers’ Control bodies, labor unions, and the Soviets would work on a single plan. The fields of competence of different levels of economic management were not clearly defined, which led to the conflicts between self-managing bodies and regional administration and resulted in the economic chaos. The choice was inevitable – self-organization, self-management and lower strata democracy or construction from above of a new regime and economy, controlled from a single center and operating on a strict compulsion to decisions of the state center. The Soviet self-organization was a tool for Lenin and the goal was the communism. He made his choice and aimed at strengthening of the centralization of the power. He proposed to end the “Red Guards attack on capitalism” and to replace it with systematic nationalization.

The authority of the Soviet government grew significantly in the countryside after the commitment of the land to the peasantry. However the peasants now involved into division of lairds’ lands were not ready to raise food supplies for the cities. The industry could be relatively soon subordinated to the governmental center, but it was almost impossible to manage millions of peasants’ farms in the same way. But it was the peasantry who had to produce the food for the cities, that were about to starve. On obtaining the land the peasants were ready to supply the food in exchange to consumer products. However in the conditions of devastation in the cities which the Soviet government failed to solve, the supplies were not enough. The same as the policy of the Constituent Assembly earlier, the policy of the Soviet government ended up in deep crisis in spring of 1918. With their decision of reformation the Bolsheviks and left-wing SRs could not reach an optimal congery of democratic and anti-capitalistic measures. In May 1918 the Bolsheviks turned to resolute anti-market force measures of food confiscation from the peasants’ farms. On 13 May the Decree of Food Dictatorship was signed. The measure was accepted as a means of of fast advance towards the communism. The stage of the “October revolution” was coming to an end, but it wasn’t followed by the first phase of communism. It resulted in a large-scale Civil War.

Revolution and the Civil War.

Revolution is often accompanied by a civil war as it is always an overly resolute social, political and legal demolition. But the civil war is not necessarily a consequence. For a couple of months the Russian Revolution avoided the civil war. However, after the Bolsheviks seized the power military clashes unfolded, constantly fading and increasing again. In fact there was not just one but several civil wars: short civil war for the establishment of the Soviet power (“the Triumphant Procession of the Soviet Power” 26 October-February 1918), local armed clashes of spring 1918, large-scale Civil War (May 1918-November 1920), a series of revolts against the “military communism” under the slogans of the “Third Revolution” and alike (late 1920-early 1922), the end of the Far East civil war (1920-1922), foreign intervention of 1918-1922, a series of wars aimed at establishment of national states and social confrontation within them (“wars for independence” and civil wars in Finland, the Baltics, Ukraine, Transcaucasia, Middle East, including Basmachi movement up to the 30-s and Soviet-Polish war of 1919-1920.) There is a chronological break between the “Triumphant Procession” and the large-scale Civil War, which divided the country in May 1918 with the front lines. The former had been won by the Soviet power supporters by March 1918, with Bolsheviks regaining control over all big cities and practically all territory of Russia. Their opponents were thrown back to periphery, where they could only wander and hope for better times. The large-scale Civil War, the war of frontlines, began in May 1918. It was provoked by the consequences of deteriorating social-economic crisis, aggravated by the Bolsheviks policy aimed at forced state formation of the economy; rise of international contradictions as the result of the unsuccessful for Russia World War I and the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, intervention of Central Powers and Triple Entente (including the revolt of the Czechoslovak Legion, which however specific was an external factor for Russia), the development of political confrontation after the closure of the Constituent Assembly and Soviets, opposing the Bolsheviks. The Soviet government had to face different opposing forces: White armies, armies of new national states, rebels and interventionists. Yet the Red won the Civil War. They formed the social system, which helped to concentrate the resources in one single center, while the opponents were dispersed and often hostile to each other.

The communist slogans matched the revolutionary mood of broader masses. The slogans reminded those of popular SRs, Mensheviks and Anarchists, but the Bolsheviks seemed to be more determined about socialistic reforms and offered to act rapidly and radically destroy old capitalistic relationships. In fact the Bolshevik methods contradicted the proclaimed idea of overcoming oppression and exploitation. But the broader masses considered it a temporary compelled measure of the war time and believed that after the victory over the White and the interventionists the Bolsheviks would settle up a society of brotherhood and freedom. Thus the communists won the ideological war against the White and moderate socialists. They managed to enlist the most massive support, create a numerous and well-organized army, defeat broken into parts and usually inferior in numbers White armies and dispersed peasants movements.

The defeat of the White was predetermined by their elitism, urge to restore confiscated property to the former social elites and great-power slogans, which raised the national minorities against the White. The peasantry was afraid to lose the land in case the “generals” should win and the "generals", advocating order and legitimacy, couldn’t stop the looting and undertook mass arbitrary arrests and executions. Atrocities and looting was on both fronts of the Civil War. But for the White it became their sentence, no other forces used the restoration of “legitimacy” as the central point of their agitation. In such conditions the Red seemed to the masses a “lesser evil”. At the same time the Bolsheviks restored the state order and discipline and planned an industrial modernization of the country, attracting to their side the members of technocratically and state oriented former elites including officers, engineers, scientists and artists. One shouldn’t identify the Bolshevism of the Civil War with the revolution; and its opponents with counter-revolution, as it was done by the Soviet historiography and propaganda. The revolution always has several sides and each has both revolutionary and counter-revolutionary features, seen in the urge to end the revolution process and move forward to the evolutionary development. The Bolshevism had the same counter-revolutionary function. The Revolution was presented by national movements, actions of the Committee of Members of Constituent Assembly and peasants war – the greatest rebellion in country's history - moreover this war didn’t fade but only broke out even harder after the end of the “frontlines war” in 1920.

The last outbreak and results of revolution

The last outbreak of revolution in 1921 defined its results. The peasants’ revolts extended to Tambov area, Siberia, North Caucasus, Ukraine. Smaller groups operated in almost all Russian provinces. After the defeat of the White movement there was no longer a threat of pre-revolution social system restoration. The peasants were no longer afraid, that the White would take back their land. Thousands of workers were no longer afraid of mass repressions, promised by the White counter-revolutionists. The thread had dissolved together with the excuse for the “military communism”, that was established on a condition of total mobilization to win the Civil War. But the Bolsheviks’ intentions were to save the tendency, as they regarded the “military communism” as a direct way towards communist society. The regime remained and provoked social tension. The Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks) was torn by contradictions which started the first serious discussion on how to organize the socialistic society in Russia, that was the "discussion of labor unions".

While there was no consent among the Bolsheviks, the peasants war intensified. The insurgents required to stop food apportionment (“prodrazvyorstka”), establish a free market, eliminate Bolsheviks’ dictatorship. They hoped to depose the Communists in the Third Revolution (analog to February and Octobers ones). The culmination of this phase became workers’ revolts in Petrograd and Kronstadt sailors rebellion on 28 February – 18 March 1921, who stood for re-election of the Soviets with agitation freedom given to the left-wing parties and “full rights for the peasantry to use the land as they wish”. Those demands threatened to weaken Bolsheviks’ governmental monopoly. Lenin saw those event as the deepest internal political crisis of Soviet Russia. Under such circumstances the communists consolidated their denial of political pluralism: the 10th RCP(b) Congress forbade fractions and groupings within the party and intensified repressions of opposing parties, which finally seized to exist in 1922-1923. This is how the “power” issue was solved. The 10th RCP(b) Congress adopted a decision to replace the prodrazvyorsta with a food tax. This became the solution for the agrarian supplies issue. The peasants kept the land and rights to manage it and to dispose the results of their labor (though part of it was anyway confiscated by the state to sell bread to the people at low prices). The end of the “military communism” and turn towards the regulated market gave a start to NEP (New Economic Policy). The first step “toward communism” was completed. Abolition of food apportionment withdrew peasants from rebellious movements, which merely all were suppressed by the second half of 1921.

By 1922 the victory of the communists (Bolsheviks) in the Russian Revolution had been defined. However the results of the revolution were influenced not only by their policy but by the resistance of the broad masses to the “military communism”. The Bolsheviks had to make concessions, though only economical, to the peasant majority in the country. Full political power and “commanding heights” remained in the hands of the RCP(b) leaders, that saved the opportunity to return to the policy resembling the “military communism”. The establishing of NEP created a new relatively stable social and economic model, oriented on further industrial modernization. Political regime provided high rate vertical mobility that supported a large part of the lower strata: their relatives and acquaintances now worked in the governmental structures. This created an air of “their power”. Some tasks of the revolution however were not accomplished: establishing the democracy and making the workers the industrial managers (under the slogan “Factories for the workers”). All management over some part of the industry was acquired by the party-state bureaucracy, used to military actions and not patient enough for painstaking economic work. Control over the ruling party by the people and opposition was out of question. This was a kind of a bureaucratic capitalism, which the ruling party tried to use to build up a new socialistic society.

The result of the revolution had to be presented in a new state form which was the USSR. The establishment of the USSR confirmed the right of the peoples to develop they cultures to the extent that didn’t hinder the communist regime. This was the solution for the “national” issue.

Due to the fact that the main tasks of the revolution were accomplished, we can speak of the end of the Great Russian Revolution by December 30, 1922, when a new chapter in our history began, which is the history of the USSR.