Russia Between Two Revolutions: Political Aspects of the Period February to October 1917
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Much was expected of the first Provisional Government. Soldiers awaited an end to the war; peasants hoped for more land; workers looked forward to an amelioration of working conditions and an improvement in their living standards; the politically articulate wanted freedom of association, a free press, etc.; the subject nationalities dreamed of self-determination and autonomy, the Allies aimed at encouraging Russia to stay in the war until victory was secure; in short, everyone expected a better life now that the Tsar and his autocratic rule had been toppled. Under peacetime conditions a Russian government would have found it difficult to measure up to expectations. War, hunger and, most important of all, the fact that it was only provisional, temporary, combined to confront the government with an almost insuperable task. The Petrograd Soviet regarded itself as much more democratic than the government. It was. The Soviet had been elected by popular vote, whereas the Provisional Government had elected itself. The latter’s invariable reply, when confronted with a difficult problem was to state that such a problem could only be resolved by the Constituent Assembly, when it met. The fact that the Constituent Assembly never met before the October revolution despite the repeated assurances of the government that it would, was another nail in the government’s coffin.
KeywordsExecutive Committee Foreign Affair Political Aspect Socialist Revolution Russian Revolution
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