FEBRUARY REVOLUTION OF 1917 IN RUSSIA. It was caused by open sociopolitical and economic contradictions in Russia at the beginning of the 20th century and it was a logical continuation of the political crises of Radical tasks of the revolution were: 1) democratic transformations of the country, 2) elimination of the landlord private property, 3) destruction of the monarchy ruling system, elimination of national inequality. Participation of Russia in the First World War 1914–1918 had excessively aggravated an internal political situation in the country,and has put the country in front of the economic crashdown: the economic ruin amplified, famine approached. Military defeats at the front revolutionised the army and the fleet, soldiers refused to execute command orders, in home front antigovernmental working rebels and country revolts have become frequent, the government power collapsed. In the end of 1916 the country has was posed in front of the revolutionary crisis in which all classes and the social strata demanding political and social and economic reforms were involved. The emperor, his government and aristocratic ruling circles promised to start reformation of these requirements after war though the approaching revolutionary shocks demanded their urgent solution. In power and society confrontation three political forces representing opposite class interests struggled:
–government forces, consisted of the most reactionary bourgeoisie and landlords, defending stability of monarchical system and interests of the nobles ; – liberal forces, opposing the tsarist power, were represented by the major October parties ( leader A.I. Guckow ) and Constitutional democrats ( leader P.N.Miluckow ). The legal center of the opposition was State Duma of the 4th convocation, formed in August 1915; – the third political force were revolutionary democrats, consisting of the main social parties : social-democrats ( Mensheviks ), national socialist, social-democrats (Bolsheviks), and also Social revolutionaries of different political directions (left, centrist, right).These parties, stayed closer to national people masses, conquered their confidence.
Liberal bourgeoisie and its political opposition hatch ed secret plans of Palace Revolutionary upturn, aspired to substitute imperator Nikolai II, who wasnt able to put an end to war defeats and economical shocks, another monarch, who would continue the war more successfully and would lead more effective struggle against approaching revolutionary crisis. As later witnessed P.N.Miluckow, the plan of liberals was such: to capture the imperators train on the road between Chief Headquarters and Tsarscoe Selo, to force the tsar to abdicate the crown, than with military units, which they could rely on, to arrest the acting government. But the events went wrong. Secret plans, were refuted by national movement foe peace,against political illegality of nation. On February 3 (March 3) the revolutionary uncontrolled rebel took place. The capital of the country Petrograd was the centre of a rebellion. The general political strike of workers, which paralysed the economic life of the city, began. On February, 26 ( March 11) transition of the army parts deployed in capital to the revolution opposition began. Events developed promptly, without giving politicians time for their assessment. By order of Nikolay II, transferred from the Headquarters of the Supreme commander in chief in Mogilyov to the armies, the Petrograd garrison had to open fire against the rebels. Several men were killed and several hundreds were wounded. This heated the situation in the capital. In the morning revolts of separate parts of capital garrison on February 27th began. Over 20 thousand soldiers joined the rebelious workers. Revolt became fatal and unexpected for the imperial government. In one day the capital appeared in the hands of rebels, government enterprises were occupied and imperial ministers started to be arrested. On the night of February 28 the 4th State Duma (formed in 1915) formed the structure for governmental control the Interim committee (the chairman M.V.Rodzjanko). The committee aspired to restore an order and to rescue a monarchy. The committee directed to the Headquarters where the tsar was, its representatives A.I.Guchkova and V.V.Shulgin for negotiations. Nikolay II still expected to suppress the revolt by armed forces, but the armies sent to him came over to the side of the rebells.
In the conditions of accruing revolutionary explosion representatives of October parties and Constitutional democrats (A.I.Guchkov, V.V.Shulgin) conducted the auction with the tsar, but spontaneously developing revolutionary events upset their plans. Without having forces to cope with revolution, Nikolay II abdicated the crown on March 12 for himself and his youngest son Alexey in favour of the younger brother Michael Aleksandrovich, but he also refused a throne, having declared that would accept the Supreme power only under the decision of the All-Russia Constituent assembly. So within several days (from February 27 till March 3 of old style) monarchy was finished in Russia. Meanwhile during February events workers of Petrograd started creating the Councils of working deputies, elections of deputies were spent in the enterprises. In the evening on February 27 in the Taurian palace the first session of Petrograd Council of working and soldier's deputies had taken place. Having completed the support of rebellion, the Council began to prove itself a real power. The majority in the Council appeared to be Mensheviks and Social revolutionaries, considering that the democratic revolution should come to the end with creation of the democratic government. The question of creation of such government dared in IV State Duma. October Parties октябристов and CDs had the majority and influenced social democrats and SR deputies. On March, 1st (14) the executive committee of Petrograd Council decided to give to Interim committee of the State Duma the right to generate provisional government from representatives of the political parties entering into Council. This very day it had been formed led by the prince G.E.Lvov. But the power of bourgeois Provisional government appeared to be unsteady. Along with it there was other power – Councils, though officially not recognised, but born by national creativity on revolution fire. In the country the diarchy was created: the power of Provisional government and the power of Petrograd council of working and soldier's deputies. After Petrograd revolution had won in Moscow, and then peacefully («by telegraph») in the majority of cities and provinces. The diarchy developed on the places. Provisional government, without having forces to resist to revolutionary elements, it had been compelled to search for support at the Petrograd Council leaning against armed workers and the soldiers. The management of Council consisting of Mensheviks and SRs, this support rendered.
The developed circumstances favoured Bolsheviks – the most radical party of revolutionary forces. Having ome to power new "tops" have appeared at once before the necessity of the solution of urgent historical problems facing the country – the terminations of war, elemination of landownership, investment of peasants with land, the solution of national problems. However the Provisional government, as well as imperial, only promised to solve them on the Constituent assembly and tried to constrain discontent of weights with references to impossibility to carry out radical reforms during tye war. The diarchy which had become the all-Russian phenomenon, went deep two parallel processes proceeding simultaneously – occurrence and formations of authorities different in a political orientation – Councils and various committees: public safety, rescue committees. Besides, municipal dumas, the zemstvoes selected still at tsarism, consisting basically from representatives of October parties, CDs, and also SRs and Mensheviks continued to function. Their participation in mass meetings and the demonstrations which were passing in the most various occasions was a display extraordinary political activity of broad masses of the people which have made revolution. It seemed that the country cannot leave a condition of anarchy, euphoria from unexpectedly won revolution. On meetings there were searches of answers to questions on an event how to finish war, how to build the Russian democratic republic. Offered by political parties and the power answers were supported with the thesis that henceforth war was conducted for the sake of protection of gains of revolution. Questions exciting the country daily were discussed and at sessions of Petrograd Council. On the main thing, about the authorities, the majority recognised that the power should be in the peoples hands. The declaration of 8 points which the Provisional government should base on the activity had been developed. The main things from them: the freedom of speech, the press, the unions, cancellation of all class, religious and national restrictions, immediate preparation for convocation on the basis of general, equal, secret and direct vote of the All-Russia Constituent assembly which should establish a form of government and prepare the country constitutio
The provisional government, postponed the decision of all key questions (about war and peace, agrarian, national) to the Constituent assembly Thereby the victory of February revolution did not solve immediately the problems facing the country that left objective conditions for struggle continuation because of their decision. The initiative passed to Bolshevik party. February revolution had not solved the basic problems of the country inheritage of the past, and the government created as a result of this victory had appeared incapable to carry out urgently the necessary social and political reforms, and the main thing was to deduce the country from war.
Only on March19 it has acted with the special statement on the agrarian question, recognising it as the first from the first. Results of a spadework on it should be presented the Constituent assembly. At the same time the government has charged to provincial commissioners to apply military force to suppression of peasants' revolts. The government supported with these actions the opinion of peasants that it protects interests of landowners. After the victory of February revolution and occurrence of a diarchy the management of Bolsheviks appeared in front of a question how to operate in new conditions. In the beginning of April from long emigration the leader of Bolsheviks V.I.Lenin returned. He has announced at once the plan of the further development of the revolutionary process, stated in the article «April theses». This plan started with a recognition of February revolution beeing finished and statements that "diarchy" conditions do the power of Provisional government fragile, and the antinational policy conducted by it would lead to a political crises. The first such crisis had place in April when the government published the note of Minister for Foreign Affairs Miljukov which had been directed to allied to Russia governments the declaration on intention to continue world war to a resolute victory. «The note of Miljukova» was a "detonator" of explosion of indignation of workers and soldiers (on April 20). In their resolutions sounded the slogan «Down with Miljukov!», and on many headers of the manifestations there were requirements «All power to Councils!»
In a counterbalance to Petersburg workers and the resolutions of soldiers protesting against this foreign policy of Provisional government, counter manifistations passed supported by its adherents, in a number of areas there were armed clashes. The right wing of an office supported application of military force, but the majority of ministers fluctuated. When the commander of district general L.G.Kornilov tried to set armies against workers, soldiers refused to act without the Council order, and the general had been compelled to cancel the initial order. It has given to confidence to Bolsheviks, and "the falling" government was kept in power only thanks to support of Petrograd Council. The slogan put forward by Lenin «All power to Councils!» Focused Bolsheviks on new prospect – on development of revolutionary process to a victory of "socialist" revolution and an establishment of dictatorship of proletariat in Russia. All other socialist parties opposed Bolshevist idea of «proletariat dictatorships», proving its incompatibility with the democracy, which adherence Lenin and its party constantly advertised, using these popular requirements of democracy in political strike. But Lenin, trusting socialist idea, aspired to use conditions favorable for his party for coming to power, counting that the power having appeared in party hands becomes the powerful tool which will allow the country to break through to socialism. From here his rate on proletariat dictatorship, a force which begins to "alter" social and economic and political relations in Russia and will finish them to the level necessary for advancement of the country to socialism. Conclusions made by Lenin and Bolsheviks about inevitability of crash of the "falling" Provisional government had been confirmed also by its subsequent crises. Position shifts as a part of the government could not change, an exception of the leaders Guchkov and Miljukov and inclusion in the office A.Kerenskiy who received a portfolio of the Minister of War, and appointment as the minister of agriculture V.M.Chernov. However these changes had not satisfied the politized broad masses. New ministers continued former internal and government foreign policy that promoted growth of the second informal power, Councils, and influences in them the main opponents of Provisional government – Bolsheviks. Their positions became stronger in trade unions, in local Councils.
In the conditions of accruing excitation of weights in Petrograd on June 3 had begun its work the First All-Russia congress of Councils of working and soldier's deputies, the question «About war and peace» was the main thing. It became widely known about preparing of the approaching attack at the front. The SR-Menshevist management of congress had been compelled to accept the decision to start on June 18 in Petrograd the general manifestation under the slogan of trust to Provisional government and attack approval at the front. Only in the capital to a half-million of workers and soldiers took part in the manifestation, the same happened in other cities. But heads of the congress,who made the stress on manifestation of support of the coalition government, had miscalculated. Manifestation stated mistrust to the government. Onthe slogans there were words:«All power to Councils», «Down with Provisional government».
" Tops" have felt impossibility to overcome the power the crisis through conducting reforms. On July 2 four CD ministers declared the exit from the government. They relieved the party of responsibility for failures at the front, shifting it on the SR-Menshevist block, pushing him to the consent to application of reprisals against the raised protesting masses. The next explosion of spontaneous indignation of workers and soldiers on July 3 had begun. They left on mass demonstration under slogans «All power to Councils!» The delegation of workers and representatives of military units arrived in Central Electoral Committee session (the Central executive committee) Councils, having demanded from it to take the power and to conclude «the fair world». Events imperiously demanded on July 3-4 from tops to break the deadlock, possibilities of "peace" maneuvering have been settled, remains one mean – violently to bridle "elements". But it demanded the consent of SR- menshevist management of Councils. Without doubting its support, the governmental forces started the retaliatory action, having fired at participants of the manifestation. It was the signal to diarchy liquidation, the new phase in development of February revolution had begun, its "peace" cycle had come to the end. The alternative to a diarchy could dare only in the armed fight of opposite political forces. It occurred during the moment when in the country had ripened the national revolutionary crisis aggravated by an economic situation. Famine threat approached the army, country revolts flashed in a number of provinces. As a result of passing re- elections of the Councils, leading positions in them passed to Bolsheviks. In political strikes soldiers on fronts were involved also. Their slogan was – «the Peace by all means». Protests of soldiers against war occurred in various spontaneous forms: mass desertion, refusals to execute orders of the command, there became frequent cases of fraternisation with soldiers of the opponent. On an outcome of September Lenin had come to a conclusion that already there were objective and subjective conditions for coming of his party to power, and has started to develop revolt plans. The organisation of Red guards from Petrograd workers was conducted, the Revolutionary-military Committee (ВРК) – a revolt staff had been created. The main points of the Lenin plan of revolt were capture of bridges through Neva, stations, a telephone exchange, telegraph, Provisional government arrest. Not all members of the administrative board of the party agreed with Lenin's decision on revolt preparation. Members of the Central Committee L.B.Kamenev and G.E.Zinovev fluctuated, but nevertheless joined Lenin.
Revolt armed forces were ready, the occasion to start military operations was necessary. It was the order of Kerensky about closing the Bolshevist newspapers, given on October 24. By the evening on October 24 Revolutionary forces began to come over to the offensive actions, on the night of October 25 they occupied stations, bridges, telegraph, the vicinity of the Winter Palace where the Provisional government was situated. Revolt developed almost without blood, only during the siege of the Winter Palace there was a gun shooting and artillery volleys were distributed. Members of Provisional government were arrested and taken to the Peter and Paul Fortress. The chairman of the government A.F.Kerensky had disappeared. The period from February till October revolt of Bolsheviks in the historical literature is considered as time of preparation of transition of the power to Bolsheviks. Actually this transition had been caused by incompleteness of February revolution, struggle for its end, for the solution of its problems. The monarchy was dethroned, but other essential problems of a democratic revolution had not been realised: about a withdrawal from a war, about the land, a workers question. All it was postponed till «the best times», caused discontent of the people, animosity of broad masses, their mistrust in October and CD parties of a socialist spectrum blocked with them that left to Bolsheviks «the fertilised field» for cultivation of plans of the gain of the power. Bolsheviks went on power capture, having support of workers, a considerable part of soldiers which were the same peasants. But this support had been caused by the Provisional government divergence, instead of comprehension in weights of the purposes of Bolsheviks. Their slogans were simple and attractive, inspired hopes that they would be realized also the people would receive, at last, the Peace, peasants - the land, workers – 8 hour working day. Using circumstances favorable for them, Bolsheviks expected to put into practice the plans of a revolutionary reorganisation of Russia.