The Monopolization of Power during the Civil War: 1917–1920
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The Bolsheviks faced armed opposition from late 1917 until November 1920. Lenin applied the term civil war broadly (Document 15). He envisaged a titanic struggle of the proletariat with the possessing classes, not only in Russia, but all over the world. In practice, the Civil War was both a context and a rationale for the concentration of power in the hands of a few Bolshevik leaders and for the institutionalization of a repressive regime (Documents 22 and 25). Lenin’s personal role in banning rival parties, arresting their leaders, and in demonstrative arrests and summary executions is apparent in several of the documents.