Triumphant March of Soviet Power
Triumphant March of Soviet Power
(1917–18), the course of events marking the establishment of Soviet power in the USSR between Oct. 25 (Nov. 7), 1917, and February-March 1918. The triumphant march of Soviet power was presaged by the successful armed uprisings of October 1917 in Petrograd and Moscow. The Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party, headed by V. I. Lenin, together with the party’s local organizations, led the struggle by which the Soviets established their power throughout Russia.
In most regions of the country, success was achieved rapidly and by peaceful means. In some areas—such as the Ukraine, Don region, Northern Caucasus, and Southern Urals—the revolutionary forces met the fierce resistance of the counterrevolution in a conflict that assumed the nature of civil war. The victorious march of Soviet power was summed up by Lenin in March 1918: “In the course of a few weeks, having overthrown the bourgeoisie, we crushed its open resistance in civil war. We passed in a victorious triumphant march of Bolshevism from one end of a vast country to the other” (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 36, p. 79).
While the revolution, conforming to principle, followed a common overall course throughout Russia, some specific features marked the establishment of Soviet power on the local level. The determining circumstances were manifold—specifically, the size of the local party organization and the extent of its activity, the proportional distribution of class forces, the presence of a proletariat and its numerical strength, the extent of the proletariat’s influence on the peasants and soldiers, the stratification of the peasant class, the presence and size of Red Guard contingents, the revolutionary attitude of an area’s military garrison, the composition and combat readiness of the local soviets, and the numerical and organizational strength of counterrevolutionary forces. The soviets gained power most rapidly and easily in the industrial areas, with their strong Bolshevik organizations and their large working-class population hardened in class conflicts.
Central Industrial Region. In 1913 the Central Industrial Region accounted for as much as 40 percent of the total industrial output of the Russian Empire. The region had approximately 1.3 million plant and factory workers, or half the total number of proletarian workers employed in large enterprises. Here the proletariat was firmly supported by the peasants, and particularly by the poor peasants, as well as by the soldiers in the rearguard garrisons (numbering up to 300,000). The revolutionary forces were headed by the united Bolshevik organizations of Moscow and of the neighboring provinces, with 70,000 members. In many of this region’s cities, Soviet power was established at the same time as the October armed uprisings in Petrograd and Moscow. Even before the October uprising, many local soviets had already gained de facto power—for example, in Ivanovo-Voznesensk, Ore-khovo-Zuevo, Shuia, Kineshma, Kostroma, Tver’, Briansk, Yaroslavl, Riazan’, Vladimir, Kovrov, Kolomna, Serpukhov, and Podol’sk; they were legitimized and confirmed as the ruling local bodies by the Second All-Russian Congress of Soviets, which proclaimed Soviet power throughout the country.
Greater difficulties were encountered in Tula, Kaluga, and Nizhny Novgorod, where the petit bourgeois parties were in the majority within the soviets. On Oct. 26 (Nov. 8), 1917, the Nizhny Novgorod soviet refused to assume power. By order of the city’s Revolutionary Military Committee (RMC; I. R. Romanov, chairman), detachments of the Red Guard and revolutionary soldiers disarmed the counterrevolutionary units, seizing the city’s most important points on October 28 (November 10). The Bolsheviks succeeded in electing a new soviet, which on November 2 (15) officially proclaimed its rule over the city and the province. In Kaluga, too, the soviets gained power by armed means on November 28 (December 11) with the aid of revolutionary forces from Moscow and Minsk. The Tula soviet, in which the Mensheviks and Socialist Revolutionaries (SR’s) were in the majority, on October 30 (November 12) refused to assume power and adopted a resolution creating a “homogeneous democratic” regime. At the end of November the Bolsheviks succeeded in winning a majority in a newly elected united soviet of workers’ and soldiers’ deputies. On December 7 (20), Soviet power was established in Tula.
In the provinces of the chernozem region, where the level of industrial development was low, agriculture retained marked vestiges of serfdom. The petit bourgeois parties, and especially the SR’s, had great influence in the region. The establishment of Soviet power in these provinces was facilitated by their proximity to Moscow and was effected with the help of Moscow’s revolutionary forces. In Voronezh, the victory of Soviet power on October 30 (November 12) was achieved by Red Guards and by soldiers of a machine-gun regiment fighting against the counterrevolutionary forces. The new Voronezh soviet elected in early November had a majority of Bolsheviks and Left SR’s. The active resistance of the petit bourgeois parties delayed the Soviets’ assumption of power until November 25 (December 8) in Orel, November 26 (December 9) in Kursk, Dec. 21, 1917 (Jan. 3, 1918) in Penza, and Jan. 31 (Feb. 13), 1918, in Tambov.
The most intensive phase in the district soviets’ successful struggle for power in the Central Industrial Region was the period from December 1917 to January 1918. By the spring of 1918, the consolidation of Soviet power was almost complete in the villages of the central provinces. The establishment of the Soviets’ effective power in Central Russia gave powerful impetus to the triumphant march of Soviet power throughout the country.
Ural Region. One of Russia’s most important industrial areas, as well as a base for the socialist revolution, was the region of the Urals. In Lenin’s plan for an armed uprising, a major role was assigned to the region’s proletariat (close to 340,000 plant and factory workers), whose forces were to act in concert with those of Central Russia. Two-thirds of the Ural Region’s soviets were Bolshevik. In October 1917, approximately 35,000 Communists were active in the area. The victory of the socialist revolution in Petrograd and Moscow was enthusiastically greeted by the workers of the Ural Region. During October and November 1917, Soviet power was established in most of the cities and industrial settlements of the Urals. October 26 (November 8) marked the assumption of power by the Ekaterinburg soviet (headed by the Bolshevik P. M. Bykov) and by the Ufa Province RMC (including such figures as N. P. Briukhanov, A. K. Evlampiev, A. I. Svi-derskii, and A. D. Tsiurupa). Soviet power was proclaimed in Cheliabinsk on October 26 (November 8) and in Izhevsk on October 27 (November 9).
In Perm’, the bourgeois and petit bourgeois parties stubbornly resisted the establishment of Soviet power. By November 23 (December 6), the Bolsheviks had succeeded in merging the city soviets of Perm’ and Motovilikha (a suburb of Perm’ with more than 20,000 workers); the joint soviet adopted a resolution expressing complete confidence in the Sovnarkom (Council of People’s Commissars). However, a bloc consisting of the Menshe-viks, the SR’s, and the bourgeois parties formed a “provincial governing soviet.” The Bolsheviks succeeded in convening a provincial congress, which met on December 16 (29) and recognized the Central Executive Committee and the Sovnarkom as the country’s sole legitimate authority.
A stubborn armed struggle for power in the soviets took place in Orenburg Province, a center of the Russian counterrevolution; by the end of October 1917, the hetmán of the Orenburg Cossack Host, A. I. Dutov, had seized de facto power in Orenburg and some other cities. On Jan. 18 (31), 1918, as a result of joint actions by the insurgent workers of Orenburg and a force of Red Guards and revolutionary soldiers and sailors advancing toward the city, the Dutov revolt was defeated; Orenburg was liberated, and Soviet power was established in the city.
Volga Region. The economy of the Volga Region was basically agrarian; the number of plant and factory workers did not exceed 120,000. In the autumn of 1917 the area’s Bolshevik organizations numbered 20,000 members. The Bolsheviks were supported by the soldiers of the rearguard garrisons (approximately 280,000 soldiers in the Volga Region’s 50 reserve regiments alone). Among the local peasants, the influence of the SR’s was strong. The industrial cities of the region had been under Soviet control since immediately after the Soviets’ assumption of power in Petrograd and Moscow. The military district command of Kazan, joining the bloc of the petit bourgeois parties and Tatar nationalists, on October 24 (November 6) attempted to disarm the artillery reserve brigade. Revolutionary troops (the garrison had 35,000 soldiers), together with the Bolshevik-led Red Guard, occupied the railroad station, the post office, the telephone and telegraph offices, and the bank; they surrounded the city’s kremlin and arrested the commander of the district troops as well as the commissar of the Provisional Government. On October 26 (November 8) the Soviets assumed power in Kazan. In the district cities of Kazan Province, the consolidation of Soviet power continued from November 1917 through January 1918; in places, it was met with fierce resistance on the part of bourgeois nationalists and SR’s.
The Samara soviet, in a joint meeting with other participants on October 26 (November 8), elected an RMC (headed by V. V. Kuibyshev), under whose leadership Soviet power was established in Samara on October 27 (November 9). In Saratov, the executive committee of the city soviet, headed by the Bolsheviks V. P. Antonov-Saratovskii and M. I. Vasil’ev-Iuzhin, assumed power on October 27 (November 9). On the following day, the SR- and Menshevik-led “committee of salvation” and the Constitutional Democrats’ municipal duma raised a revolt, but on October 29 (November 11) they were forced to surrender.
In Tsaritsyn, the consolidation of Soviet power was started on October 28–29 (November 10–11) and was peacefully completed on November 4 (17); in Syzran’, the process was accomplished on October 28 (November 10), and in Simbirsk on December 10 (23). In Astrakhan the petit bourgeois parties formed a “committee for the people’s power, ” which refused to recognize the Soviet government. This “committee” was supported by the Astrakhan cossacks and other well-to-do strata of the population of the Lower Volga Region. On Jan. 12 (25), 1918, the counterrevolutionary forces attempted to break up the Astrakhan soviet and seize power in the city and the province. The Bolsheviks established the Astrakhan Revolutionary Committee (headed by M. L. Aristov), which organized the workers, soldiers, and rank-and-file cossacks, as well as the village poor, to resist the foe. The fighting continued until January 25 (February 7), ending in victory for the revolutionary forces. By February 1918 the Soviets were in power throughout the Volga Region.
Army field forces. An important part in Lenin’s plan for an armed uprising was played by the Northern and Western fronts and the Baltic Fleet, which were those nearest Petrograd and Moscow. The revolutionary troops that belonged to these forces were to cover the two capitals from a possible approach by counterrevolutionary troops. In the autumn of 1917, the army’s field forces numbered more than 6 million soldiers—1,035,000 on the Northern Front, 1,111,000 on the Western Front, 1.8 million on the Southwestern Front, more than 1.5 million on the Rumanian Front, and 600,000 on the Caucasian Front;—a huge armed and political force. As Lenin pointed out, the socialist revolution could not have succeeded if the army had not been won over to the Bolsheviks’ side (see Poln sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 40, pp. 9–10).
In October and November 1917, there were close to 50,000 Communists engaged in selfless and heroic party work in the army’s field forces (excluding the Caucasian Front). Of these 50,000 party members, 21,463 were on the Western Front, more than 13,000 on the Northern Front (including the Baltic Fleet and the Finland region), 7,064 on the Southwestern Front, and more than 7,000 on the Rumanian Front (the Eighth Army). Not without conflict, the Bolshevization of the army was in process. In October and November 1917, more than half the frontline soldiers were on the side of the Bolshevik Party. After the October armed uprising in Petrograd, the news of its victory was greeted in the front lines with delighted acclaim. On behalf of the revolution, the entire might of the Baltic Fleet was placed at the disposal of the Petrograd RMC by the Central Committee of the Baltic Fleet (Tsentrobalt), which had assumed power in the Baltic. In late October and early November, army RMC’s were established and assumed control over all the armies of the Northern Front. B. P. Pozern was appointed commissar of the front by the Sovnarkom. New soldiers’ committees were elected, and army congresses were held. The RMC of the Fifth Army assumed control of the army headquarters at Dvinsk and blocked the attempted breakthrough of counterrevolutionary units supporting the Kerensky-Krasnov Rebellion of 1917.
The pro-Soviet forces included 40,000 Latvian riflemen, who played a major role in establishing Soviet power in Latvia. The Sovnarkom appointed S. M. Nakhimson commissar of the Twelfth Army.
The Minsk soviet assumed power over the Western Front on October 25 (November 7). In the northwestern region, a newly formed RMC took over the command of the Northwestern Front.
A congress of representatives of the Western Front, meeting in Minsk on November 20 (December 3), confirmed the victory of Soviet power and elected A. F. Miasnikov commander of the front.
The revolution’s victory on the Northern and Western fronts made it possible to eliminate a major center of the counterrevolution—the General Headquarters of the Supreme Command, where a conspiracy was in process against the socialist revolution. The Bolshevik N. V. Krylenko was appointed supreme commander by the Sovnarkom; together with a detachment of revolutionary workers and sailors, Krylenko arrived at the general headquarters in Mogilev on November 20 (December 3) and took overall charge of troop operations.
The success achieved on the fronts closest to the capital and in the Baltic Fleet was of enormous importance to the subsequent development of the socialist revolution. In Lenin’s words, “Resistance on the part of the armed forces to the October Revolution of the proletariat, to the winning of political power by the proletariat, was entirely out of the question, considering that the Bolsheviks had an enormous majority on the Northern and Western fronts, while on the other fronts, far removed from the centre, the Bolsheviks had the time and opportunity to win the peasants away from the Socialist-Revolutionary Party” (ibid., p. 10).
More complex and protracted was the course of the socialist revolution on the Southwestern, Rumanian, and Caucasian fronts. The Bolsheviks were winning the army’s masses away from the compromisers and nationalists. Control of the Southwestern Front was assumed by the front’s newly formed RMC (headed by the Bolshevik G. V. Razzhivin). On the Rumanian Front the influence of the petit bourgeois parties and nationalists was stronger. In November the Sovnarkom appointed S. G. Roshal’ commissar of the front, and on December 2 (15) the Bolsheviks established the RMC of the Rumanian Front (headed by P. I. Baranov). The counterrevolutionary forces, however, went into action under the leadership of General D. G. Shcherbachev, commander of the Russian armies at the front. Members of the RMC at the front and in the ranks of the army were arrested, and Roshal’ was killed.
Nevertheless, the revolution was spreading. December 10 (23) marked the opening in Odessa of the second congress of the Rumcherod (Central Executive Committee of Soviets of the Rumanian Front, the Black Sea Fleet, and the Odessa Military District), with a majority of Bolsheviks and Left SR’s. The congress approved and pledged itself in full support of the Sovnarkom’s policy; it elected a new Rumcherod executive committee (headed by the Bolshevik V. G. Iudovskii), which proclaimed itself the highest authority at the front and in Odessa Oblast. For two months, the armed struggle continued between the revolutionary forces on the one hand and the counterrevolutionary and Rumanian occupation forces on the other. The German occupation hindered the final victory of Soviet power on the Rumanian Front.
On the Caucasian Front, in late November the Caucasian Regional Committee of the RCP(B) called on the frontline soldiers to recognize the Sovnarkom in the Caucasus. On December 10 (23) a congress of the Caucasian Army opened in Tbilisi. The leaders of the Bolsheviks at the congress included S. G. Shau-mian and M. G. Tskhakaia. The congress adopted a resolution recognizing and supporting the Sovnarkom, condemned the actions of the counterrevolutionary Transcaucasian Commissariat, and elected a regional soviet of the Caucasian Army (headed by the Bolshevik G. N. Korganov). The Bolshevization of the front was growing.
Millions of soldiers were schooled in the revolutionary struggle while serving in the army; once demobilized, they became active throughout the country as agitators and fighters on behalf of Soviet power. By winning the army to its side, the Bolshevik Party deprived the counterrevolution of armed support, thus facilitating and hastening the nationwide establishment and consolidation of Soviet power.
The socialist revolution followed the same general course in the national-minority and border regions. The specific developments in each region, however, were determined by the socioeco-nomic status of the local population and the particular distribution of class forces.
Baltic Region. In the Baltic Region, the level of urban and rural capitalism was relatively high. In addition to the plant and factory workers (numbering up to 170,000), the region had a large agricultural proletariat. The Baltic Region was a frontline zone; by October 1917 approximately half its territory was occupied by German troops. The region’s Bolshevik Party organizations, as of July 1917, had a combined membership of 14,000 Communists.
After the February Revolution, soviets of workers’ deputies and soviets of landless deputies were established in the unoccupied Baltic areas, and soviets of soldiers’ deputies were formed among the troops on the Northern Front. As early as September 5(18), the Revel soviet demanded the transfer of all power to the soviets, and similar resolutions were adopted by the Latvian soviets and the second congress of Estonian soviets. On October 22 (November 4), an RMC was established as part of the Executive Committee of the Estonian soviets (with J. Anvelt as chairman of the committee). During the October uprising in Petrograd, the RMC assumed control of all major strategic points in the Baltic Region and blocked any movement of counterrevolutionary units against the revolutionary forces in Petrograd.
The consolidation of Soviet power was effected on Oct. 25–26 (Nov. 7–8), 1917, in Narva, Revel, Iur’ev, and Párnu, and in late October and early November throughout the unoccupied territory of the Baltic Region. The attempts of the Latvian and Estonian bourgeoisie to raise anti-Soviet revolts were cut short by the revolutionary forces. Soviet power was proclaimed in Latvia by the Iskolat (Executive Committee of the Soviet of Workers’, Soldiers’, and Landless Deputies of Latvia) at its plenary session of November 8–9 (21–22). Latvia’s first Soviet government, headed by F. A. Roziņž (Azis), was elected by a congress of workers’, riflemen’s, and landless deputies meeting in Valmiera on December 16–18 (29–31). The beginnings of the change to socialism were interrupted by the advancing German army, which by late February-March 1918 had occupied the entire Baltic Region.
Byelorussia. With its poorly developed industry, Byelorussia had a relatively small working class (approximately 60,000 persons). By October 1917, however, more than a million soldiers of the Western Front were stationed in Byelorussia; in addition, the region had an influx of trained workers from Petrograd, Moscow, the Urals, and the Donets Basin area who had been mobilized and assigned to work in shops that repaired and manufactured weapons. The party’s directing body was the Northwestern Committee of the RSDLP(B), headed by A. F. Miasnikov. As a result of the elections held in September to form a new Minsk soviet (headed by K. I. Lander), the Bolsheviks and deputies siding with them had more than 70 percent of the votes. On October 25 (November 7), upon hearing of the armed uprising in Petrograd, the Minsk soviet proclaimed the transfer of power to the soviets in the city and its environs, called for the establishment of Soviet power on the local level, and dispatched commissars to take charge of the post office, the telegraph office, the railroad, and military headquarters.
On October 27 (November 9), by a resolution of the Northwest Regional Committee of the RSDLP(B), a Revkom (revolutionary committee) was formed in the Minsk soviet; the Revkom subsequently became the RMC of the Northwest Region and Western Front, and it assumed complete control over the Western Front and Byelorussia. On October 27 (November 9), right-wing SR’s and Mensheviks formed a “committee to save the revolution” (or “committee of salvation”). With help from the staff headquarters of the Western Front and the SR-Menshevik front committee, frontline troops were dispatched to Minsk. In view of the inequality of forces, the Minsk soviet was compelled to agree to a temporary truce with the committee. The Minsk Bolsheviks took advantage of the truce to mobilize their forces at the front. Revolutionary units were pulled back from the front toward the city. On November 4(17) the RMC of the Northwest Region and Western Front proclaimed the dissolution of the “committee of salvation.”
In October and November the Soviets assumed power in several cities, including Vitebsk, Gomel’, Mogilev, and Orsha. By the beginning of December, Soviet power had achieved victory throughout the unoccupied territory of Byelorussia, with the declared support of the various congresses held in the region during the month of November—namely, the congresses held by the soviets of workers’ and soldiers’ deputies of Minsk, Vitebsk, and Mogilev provinces, the soviets of soldiers’ deputies of the Western Front, and the soviets of peasants’ deputies of Minsk and Vilnius provinces.
The united executive committee of the soviets of workers’, soldiers’, and peasants’ deputies (headed by N. V. Rogozinskii) and the Sovnarkom of the Northwest Region and Western Front (headed by Lander) were both formed on Nov. 26 (Dec. 9), 1917. The violent resistance of the counterrevolution was broken: the all-Byelorussian congress convened by the Byelorussian Rada was dissolved in December, and the anti-Soviet revolt of I. R. Dowbór-Musnicki’s Polish Corps was crushed in January-February 1918. In February a large part of Byelorussia was occupied by German troops; Soviet power was restored, however, between November 1918 and early January 1919, when most of the region was liberated by the Red Army.
Ukraine. Economically a relatively well developed region, the Ukraine had as many as 1 million industrial workers (of a total of more than 3.5 million hired workers). The region’s working class was unevenly distributed, with two-thirds of its members in the Donets Coal Basin and in Kharkov and Ekaterinoslav provinces, and only one-third in the other Ukrainian provinces. On the eve of the October Revolution the Donets Coal Basin had as many as 30,000 Communists, and the other areas had 15,000. Most of the Ukraine was an agrarian region. No less than 63 percent of the rural population were poor peasants; the kulaks, whose proportion was 13 percent, owned almost half the land.
After the February Revolution, the Ukrainian Central Rada joined the bourgeois Provisional Government on the side of the counterrevolution. The Bolsheviks’ struggle to establish Soviet power in the Ukraine became more intense after the victory of the Petrograd armed uprising. In late October and early November, the workers succeeded in establishing Soviet power in various cities of the Donets Coal Basin, including Lugansk, Makeev-ka, Gorlovka, and Kramatorsk.
In their fight for the victory of the socialist revolution, the workers of the Ukraine had to overcome the resistance of the counterrevolutionary forces of the Provisional Government and the Central Rada. Armed uprisings occurred in Kiev, Vinnitsa, and other cities. The Central Rada succeeded in seizing power in Kiev; on Nov. 7 (20), 1917, it issued a manifesto proclaiming the Ukraine a “people’s republic, ” but at the same time it launched a reign of terror against the revolutionary forces. A major event in the struggle for Soviet power in the Ukraine was the All-Ukrainian Congress of Soviets held in Kharkov on Dec. 11–12 (24–25), 1917, which on December 12 (25) proclaimed the Ukraine a Soviet republic. The congress elected the Central Executive Committee of the Soviets of the Ukraine; by decree of December 14 (27), the committee established the first Soviet government of the Ukraine, the People’s Secretariat, which included Artem (F. A. Sergeev), E. B. Bosh, V. P. Zatonskii, and N. A. Skrypnik.
The armed struggle to establish Soviet power in the Ukraine became intense in December 1917 and January 1918. Uprisings against the Central Rada resulted in the proclamation of Soviet power in Ekaterinoslav on Dec. 29, 1917 (Jan. 11, 1918), and in Odessa on Jan. 17 (30), 1918. Also in January 1918, Soviet power was established in Poltava, Kremenchug, Elizavetgrad, Niko-laev, Kherson, and other cities. On Jan. 26 (Feb. 8), 1918, Soviet troops, whose advance was facilitated by the uprising of the Arsenal Plant workers, liberated Kiev. On January 30 (February 12) the Ukrainian Soviet government moved from Kharkov to Kiev. In February, Soviet power was consolidated throughout the Ukraine. The entire region, however, was occupied by German troops from the end of February to April 1918. Soviet power was restored in the Ukraine in November-December 1918.
In the western Ukrainian territories—eastern Galicia, northern Bucovina, and the Transcarpathian Ukraine—the October Revolution had given impetus to a powerful movement for reunification with the Soviet Ukraine. In 1918–19, however, these territories were seized, with the sanction of the Entente imperialists, by the reactionary forces of the governments of Poland, boyar-ruled Rumania, and bourgeois Czechoslovakia.
In the struggle to establish Soviet power in the Crimea, a focal point of support was the Bolshevik RMC of Sevastopol’ (which included Iu. P. Gaven and N. A. Pozharov); the RMC assumed power on December 16 (29). After a series of clashes with Tatar nationalist units, Soviet power was established in Simferopol’ between Dec. 12 (25), 1917, and Jan. 13 (26), 1918, and—during the month of January—in the entire Crimea as well.
During the Civil War of 1918–20, the Ukrainian people joined the fraternal peoples of the Russian republic to defend the gains won by the October Revolution.
Moldavia. An agrarian region, Moldavia was a land of large landowners’ estates and meager peasant plots. The number of hired workers did not exceed 30,000, of which 4,000 were plant and factory workers. Until late 1917, the Bolsheviks had no power center in the region; it was only in early December that they succeeded in setting up their own independent party organization. The petit bourgeois parties held a majority in the soviets, and the party of the Moldavian bourgeois nationalists carried considerable weight. The counterrevolutionary forces of Moldavia had the support of the high command of the Rumanian Front. It was not until November 22 (December 5) that the Kishinev soviet, together with a soldiers’ committee, adopted a resolution recognizing the Sovnarkom.
In early December, Bessarabia was declared a “people’s republic” by the Sfatul Tárei (Territorial Council)—the governmental body that had been formed in Kishinev in November by the bourgeois nationalists. Opposed by the revolutionary forces, the petit bourgeois parties were defeated at the Second Congress of the Rumcherod, held in Odessa in December. The frontline section of the Rumcherod, having reached Kishinev on Jan. 1 (14), 1918, declared itself the supreme authority in Bessarabia and on the Rumanian Front. In early January, Soviet power was established through most of Moldavia. The implementation of revolutionary changes was prevented by the Rumanian occupation forces and by local nationalists. On Jan. 13 (26), 1918, Rumanian troops occupied Kishinev, and subsequently all of Bessarabia.
Don Oblast. Of the 3.5 million inhabitants of the Don Oblast, approximately 1.5 million were cossacks. While constituting less than half the population, the cossacks nevertheless owned 85 percent of the land. The well-to-do cossacks exploited the poorer local peasants (numbering up to 900,000), and particularly the noncossack farmhands (up to 800,000). The working class (whose numbers did not exceed 220,000) was mainly concentrated in Rostov-on-Don and Taganrog and in the mines. By October 1917 the Bolshevik Party organization of the Don Okrug, with close to 7,000 members, had achieved a dominant position among the workers and soldiers. With the party playing a leading role in many of the soviets in the Don region, Soviet power was established in Rostov and elsewhere on October 26 (November 8).
The Don region became the center of the Russian counterrevolution when A. M. Kaledin, hetmán of the Don Host, raised a counterrevolutionary revolt against Soviet power. It was here that the first units of the White Guards’ Volunteer Army were formed. After bitter fighting, having captured Rostov on December 2 (15), Kaledin took Taganrog and carried the attack into the Donets Basin. Many of the cossacks, however, did not support Kaledin. A congress of frontline cossack units was held in Ka-menskaia stanitsa (large cossack village); on Jan. 10 (23), 1918, the congress proclaimed Soviet power in the Don Oblast and established the Don RMC, headed by F. G. Podtelkov. Soviet troops and revolutionary cossacks, taking joint offensive action under the command of V. A. Antonov-Ovseenko, routed the White Cossacks, and on February 24–25 they took Rostov and Novocherkassk, thus restoring Soviet power in the region.
Northern Caucasus. Many different nationalities inhabited the agrarian region known as the Northern Caucasus. To a large extent, the local mountain peoples preserved the vestiges of patriarchal, clan, and feudal relations. The influence of Muridism was strong among the mountain dwellers, and there was enmity between the various nationalities. The principal industrial centers were Grozny i, Vladikavkaz (now Ordzhonikidze), Petrovsk-Port (now Makhachkala), and Novorossiisk. The Kuban’ region had a fairly large agricultural proletariat.
The Northern Caucasus was the home of the Kuban’ and Terek Cossack hosts. It was to the Northern Caucasus that many reactionary officers and other counterrevolutionaries fled after the October Revolution. The cossacks joined forces with the nationalist mountain peoples and Russian White Guard sympathizers, supported to a large extent by foreign capitalists. As a result, major difficulties were encountered in the struggle to establish Soviet power in the region.
On Oct. 28 (Nov. 10), 1917, the Vladikavkaz soviet issued a declaration in support of Soviet power. On November 7 (20) the Petrovsk-Port soviet adopted a resolution recognizing the Sov-narkom and the establishment of Soviet power. An RMC was formed, headed by the Bolshevik U. D. Buinakskii. Nevertheless, the attempt to establish Soviet power fell short of immediate success. On December 1 (14) the counterrevolutionary cossacks and mountain peoples formed the Terek-Dagestan Government, and between late December 1917 and early January 1918 they routed the Groznyi and Vladikavkaz soviets. During this time of terror and of clashes between national groupings, the Bolsheviks of Terek Oblast, headed by S. G. Buachidze, S. M. Kirov, and I. D. Orakhelashvili, were preparing for a congress of the Terek peoples. The congress, held in Mozdok in January 1918, elected the Terek People’s Soviet. At the second Terek Oblast congress, held in Piatigorsk in March, the Terek People’s Soviet Republic was established as part of the RSFSR. Buachidze was elected chairman of the Sovnarkom. Soviet power was established throughout Terek Oblast. On March 25, with the support of Imam N. Gotsinskii’s armed bands and General P. A. Polov-tsev’s troops, the counterrevolutionaries attacked and captured Petrovsk-Port. In April, troops were landed by a flotilla that had sailed from Baku, and the counterrevolutionaries were expelled from Petrovsk. The soviets now held most of Dagestan.
The struggle was moving forward to establish Soviet power in the Black Sea and Kuban’ regions. An RMC (headed by A. A. Iakovlev) was formed in Novorossiisk; under its leadership, Soviet power was established in the city on December 1 (14). The congress of soviets of the Black Sea Province, which met in Novorossiisk on November 23 (December 6), proclaimed Soviet power throughout the Black Sea region. In the Kuban’ region, the soviets’ struggle for power was more protracted, meeting the violent resistance of the Kuban’ military “government” in Eka-terinodar (now Krasnodar) and the Kuban’ Rada of 1917–20. In January 1918, Soviet power was established in many localities, such as Armavir, Maikop, and the Tikhoretskaia, Ust’-Labinsk-aia, and Krymskaia stanitsas. Red Guard detachments were formed in the Kuban’ and Black Sea regions under the leadership of the Kuban’ RMC (headed by la. V. Poluian), which had been formed on January 17 (30). A congress of the Kuban’ soviets met in Armavir on February 14; the congress established the Kuban’ Oblast soviet, which on February 22 proclaimed itself the body in power over the entire Kuban’ region. On March 14, revolutionary troops took possession of Ekaterinodar. Soviet power was thus established throughout the Kuban’ and Black Sea regions.
Transcaucasia. A multinational region of the Russian Empire, Transcaucasia was an industrially backward land; its only large industrial center was Baku, which had 57,000 plant and factory workers—primarily in the petroleum industry—as against 15,000 in other parts of Transcaucasia. The total number of hired workers in the region reached the 300,000 mark; close to one-third of them were in Baku. The Bolsheviks had a consolidated party organization operating in the Caucasus (with 8,600 members in October 1917). The bourgeois nationalists were sowing national dissension; waging an uncompromising struggle against them, the Bolsheviks were winning over the masses. The bourgeois-nationalist parties—the Musavat in Azerbaijan and the Dashnaktsutiun in Armenia—joined the Georgian Mensheviks in an active struggle against the establishment of Soviet power, seeking to detach the Caucasus from revolutionary Russia.
Baku was the center of the struggle for the socialist revolution in Transcaucasia. The city’s Bolshevik organization had 2,200 members; among its adherents were two organizations— Gummet (Energy) and Adalet (Justice)—that worked with the local Muslims. At a meeting of the Baku soviet on Oct. 27 (Nov. 9), 1917, the Bolsheviks proposed a resolution in favor of the Soviet’s assumption of power, but the deputies representing the nationalists and petit bourgeois parties succeeded in rejecting the motion. The Baku committee of the RSDLP(B) then turned for support to the city’s working class. On October 31 (November 13), pressed by the workers and revolutionary soldiers, the Baku soviet carried out the decision to assume power; the Soviet’s new executive committee (headed by S. G. Shaumian) was elected on November 2 (15).
In the spring of 1918 the soviets assumed power in the Baku, Lenkoran’, Dzhevat, and Kuba districts. In March 1918 the Mu-savatists raised a counterrevolutionary rebellion in Baku and organized armed outbreaks elsewhere in Azerbaijan. From March 30 to April 1, Baku was the scene of fierce battles, with as many as 20,000 combatants on both sides. The insurrection was quelled. On April 25 the Baku soviet formed the Baku Sovnarkom, known as the Baku Commune of 1918 (headed by Shaumian), which undertook to effect the change to socialism in Azerbaijan.
In Georgia and Armenia the revolutionary forces were unable to assume power. In November 1917 the Mensheviks and bourgeois-nationalist parties set up a regional authority—the Trans-caucasian Commissariat (headed by the Menshevik E. P. Gegechkori)—followed, in February 1918, by the Transcaucasian Seim (headed by the Menshevik N. S. Chkheidze); both these bodies became tools of the imperialist powers.
Central Asia. An economically, politically, and culturally backward region on the outskirts of the Russian Empire, Central Asia was relegated to the position of a tsarist colony. Patriarchal and feudal relations prevailed among its many nationalities, which included Uzbeks, Kazakhs, Turkmens, Tadzhiks, and Kirghiz. The majority of the population were peasants (dehqans), dependent on the local beys and strongly influenced by the Muslim clergy. Industry was rudimentary. Such enterprises as small-scale cotton gins and vegetable-oil mills employed 20,000 workers, and up to 40,000 people—most of them Russians—worked on the railroads.
The bourgeois nationalists formed organizations of their own—Shura-i-Islam and Shura-i-Ulema. Ranged together against the revolution were all the reactionary forces—the bourgeois nationalists, beys, clergy, Russian officers, and kulaks. The bourgeois nationalists took advantage of the widespread local distrust toward the Russians, engendered by the tsars’ colonial policies. Tashkent, where the Bolsheviks were strong, became the center of the socialist revolution. The city’s Bolshevik organization had the support of the railroad workers, the soldiers of the Tashkent, Samarkand, and Kushka garrisons, and the tyloviki—local workers who had been mobilized during the war for rearguard operations. Such rearguard soldiers numbered up to 100,000; in the summer of 1917, having returned to their native lands from the frontline zone and from Russia’s central regions, a considerable portion of this group became an active force for the revolution. The tyloviki helped enlist the local population in the struggle to organize soviets and unions of working-class Muslims.
In mid-October 1917, General P. A. Korovichenko, general commissar of the Provisional Government for Turkestan, attempted to disband a number of revolutionary units in order to deprive the Bolsheviks of armed support. The Tashkent soviet decreed that only by its sanction could units be moved or disbanded. On October 25 (November 7) the presidium of the soviet decided to begin preparing for an armed uprising and worked out a plan of operations. On October 27 (November 9), Korovichenko placed the city under martial law, arrested some of the members of the Soviet’s executive committee, and disarmed the soldiers of the Second Siberian Rifle Reserve Regiment. The uprising, which began on October 27 (November 10), was led by the Revolutionary Committee (headed by the Bolshevik V. S. Lia-pin). Soldiers from a number of units went over to the side of the revolution, bringing cannons and machine guns. Soon after, the revolutionary forces were supplemented by reinforcements from the fort at Kushka and from Chardzhou and Krasnovodsk. The fighting lasted from October 28 through 31 (November 10–13). The various local nationalities contributed hundreds of fighting men who joined the Russian workers and soldiers in the armed struggle. On November 1 (14) the insurgents seized the bank, the communications offices, and the city’s fortress. The counterrevolutionary forces surrendered and were disarmed, and the Tashkent soviet assumed power over the region.
The establishment of Soviet power in Tashkent had enormous significance for Middle Asia as a whole. The soviets assumed power in a number of other cities in Turkestan. The third regional congress of the soviets of workers’, soldiers’, and peasants’ deputies, held in Tashkent on November 15 (28), elected the Sovnarkom of Turkestan Krai (headed by the Bolshevik F. I. Ko-lesov). The congress proclaimed Soviet power throughout Turkestan. Between November 1917 and February 1918, Soviet power was established in many cities, including Samarkand, Ashkhabad, Krasnovodsk, Chardzhou, Merv, Skobelev, Pishpek, and Kushka.
The socialist revolution in Middle Asia encountered fierce resistance on the part of the bourgeois nationalists, local feudal lords, Muslim clergy, and Russian White Guard sympathizers supported by foreign imperialists. In late November 1917 these groups convened a regional Muslim congress in Kokand; the congress proclaimed the autonomy of Turkestan and formed a “government” that became known as the Kokand Autonomy. Aiming to split off Turkestan from Soviet Russia, this government gathered its armed forces to crush Soviet power in Middle Asia. In January 1918, cossack units returning from Iran were thrown against the revolutionary forces and captured Samarkand and other cities. In February, however, Red Guard detachments and revolutionary soldiers succeeded in disarming the cossacks. The Kokand Autonomy was liquidated in the second half of February. By the spring of 1918, Soviet power had been established throughout Middle Asia except in the Khiva and Bukhara khanates, where a feudal-bourgeois regime persisted until 1920.
The fifth congress of the soviets of Turkestan Krai, meeting in Tashkent in April 1918, proclaimed the formation of the Turkestan ASSR as a part of the RSFSR. On Jan. 1 (14), 1918, Soviet power was established in Pishpek (now Frunze). The Semirech’e Oblast congress of peasants’ deputies met in Vernyi (now Alma-Ata) in January and declared its support of Soviet power in Semirech’e. The Vernyi RMC (headed by P. M. Vinogradov) was formed on March 2. Under its leadership, in the early morning hours of March 3, the Red Guards, revolutionary soldiers, and tyloviki seized the fortress and communications offices and disarmed the military cadets and other counterrevolutionary subdivisions. During March and April, the establishment of Soviet power was effected first in Vernyi and then through all of Semirech’e Oblast.
Kazakhstan. Patriarchal and feudal relations characterized Kazakhstan, a region of nomadic livestock-raising. Industry was very poorly developed. In 1913 the region had 20,000 plant and factory workers and up to 23,000 railroad workers and employees. The nomadic population was completely dependent on the beys and in submission to the Muslim clergy (mullahs). The Kazakh feudal lords and bourgeois nationalists had formed their own party—the Alash—which opposed the socialist revolution.
In the autumn of 1917 the Bolsheviks formed independent party organizations in most of the cities of Kazakhstan; among the party leaders were A. T. Dzhangil’din, P. A. Kobozev, A. V. Cherviakov, and V. F. Zinchenko. The Bolsheviks had the support of the workers, including particularly the Orenburg-Tashkent railroad workers, as well as the tyloviki (who had returned from operations near the front), the poorer Kazakhs, and the local garrisons’ soldiers. Soviet power was established by peaceful means in Akmolinsk Oblast between November 1917 and January 1918, and in the Bukei Khanate in December 1917; in Turgai and Semipalatinsk oblasts, the goal was achieved through armed struggle. A congress of Kazakh beys, mullahs, and bourgeois nationalists, meeting in Orenburg in December 1917, proclaimed the autonomy of the Kazakh region and formed the “government” of Alash-Orda (headed by the Constitutional Democrat A. Bukeikhanov).
During January and February 1918, Soviet power was established in Turgai Oblast. The oblast congress of soviets, which met in March, elected the oblast executive committee (headed by A. T. Dzhangil’din). The Revolutionary Committee of Semipalatinsk, formed in early February, led an armed uprising that resulted in jthe establishment of Soviet power in the city on February 3 (16). In Ural’sk, a congress of the peasants of Ural’sk Oblast met in January 1918 and proclaimed Soviet power. In late March, however, the armed forces of the “governments” of the Ural Cossack Host and Alash-Orda succeeded in doing away with the soviets. It was not until January 1919 that the Red Army restored Soviet power in the region.
Siberia. A region with an extremely low population density, Siberia had a poorly developed economy, with a small-scale industry of domestic manufacturing. The working class, scattered over an enormous land area, numbered up to 325,000 workers, including 100,000 in the mining industry and up to 85,000 in railroad work. The population, which exceeded 9 million, consisted primarily of peasants. A major distinctive feature of Siberia’s agriculture was the absence of large landowners. Between 15 and 20 percent of all the farms were owned by kulaks. The many farm-owning cossacks in Siberia were in a privileged category. The Socialist Revolutionaries (SR’s) and the Mensheviks had considerable influence among the peasants and the petit bourgeois strata in the cities.
In October 1917, close to 12,000 party members were united in the RSDLP(B) bureau established by the Bolsheviks for the entire Siberian region. Stationed in Siberia were as many as 250,000 soldiers, who played an active role in the struggle to establish Soviet power. By October, the soviets of Barnaul, Irkutsk, Kras-noiarsk, Tobol’sk, Tomsk, and other cities had swung over to the Bolsheviks. The Siberian soviets’ first congress, with delegates from 69 soviets, was held in Irkutsk between October 16 and 24 (October 29 to November 6). The bloc formed by the Bolsheviks and Left SR’s had a decisive influence on the congress and the tenor of its resolutions. The congress called for the transfer of all power to the soviets. A steering body was set up—Tsentro-sibir’—whose leadership included the Bolsheviks la. E. Bogorad, B. Z. Shumiatskii (chairman), and N. N. Iakovlev.
The Siberian SR’s and Mensheviks formed a bloc with the Constitutional Democrats. The reactionary forces’ slogan was regional autonomy for Siberia—meaning, in effect, the separation of Siberia from revolutionary Russia.
In Krasnoiarsk—one of the first Siberian cities in which Soviet power was established—a military staff headquarters was set up on October 27 (November 9) under the leadership of S. G. Lazo. On October 28 (November 10) and in the early morning hours of October 29 (November 11), the Red Guard and revolutionary soldiers took over the city’s most important points and replaced the administration. The Krasnoiarsk soviet assumed full power. By late December 1917, Soviet power was established throughout Enisei Province. The anti-Soviet revolt led by the cossack hetmán Sotnikov was successfully put down.
On October 28 (November 10) the Omsk soviet adopted a Bolshevik-proposed resolution to assume power over the city. An armed revolt, raised on November 1 (14) by the counterrevolutionaries’ Union for the Salvation of the Fatherland, Freedom, and Order, was put down by the Red Guard. The soviet issued a declaration announcing that as of November 30 (December 13) the city of Omsk and its suburbs were under the power of the presidium of the soviet. The third regional congress of the soviets of Western Siberia, meeting in Omsk in early December, proclaimed Soviet power throughout Western Siberia. In January 1918 this proclamation gained the adherence of the fourth Western Siberian congress of the soviets of peasants’ deputies. The soviet of Novonikolaevsk (now Novosibirsk), under Menshevik and SR influence, declared its opposition to Soviet power. It was only after the new elections held at the Bolsheviks’ insistence that the soviet announced its assumption of power. In Tomsk, after Soviet power had been proclaimed by the city’s soviet on December 6 (19), a provincial executive committee was formed by the soviet on December 11 (24). The counterrevolutionary Siberian Regional Duma, located in Tomsk, was broken up during the night of Jan. 25–26 (Feb. 7–8), 1918. Soviet power was established in Barnaul and Biisk during the month of December, and through most of the Altai region by February 1918.
In the Irkutsk soviet, which had come into the Bolshevik fold in early December 1917, the counterrevolutionaries staged a rebellion on December 8 (21). Fighting raged in the city for nine days, after which the revolt was put down, and Soviet power was established between December 19 and 22 (Jan. 1–4, 1918). In early February 1918, the third congress of the Eastern Siberian soviets met in Irkutsk and proclaimed Soviet power. Meeting in Irkutsk in mid-February, the second congress of the Siberian soviets (headed by B. Z. Shumiatskii) certified the results of the struggle for Soviet power in Siberia and elected new members to a newly formed Tsentrosibir’.
Soviet power was established in Transbaikalia with the aid of the Red Guard and revolutionary soldiers of Western Siberia, who helped overcome the resistance of the bands led by the cossack hetmán G. M. Semenov. In February, Soviet power was proclaimed in Chita and Verkhneudinsk, and subsequently throughout Transbaikalia.
Far East. The distinctive features of the Russian Far East were its low population density, its many different nationalities, its industrial underdevelopment, and the small numbers of its proletariat. By 1917 the region had no more than 200,000 workers— most of them in Vladivostok (which had more than 82,000 workers and employees), Khabarovsk, and Blagoveshchensk. There were no large landowners in the region; 22 percent of the farms were owned by kulaks. The Amur Cossacks, who had privileged status, numbered up to 90,000. Many foreign missions were located in the Far Eastern region, and almost half the population of Vladivostok consisted of foreign subjects.
The population was influenced by the petit bourgeois and bourgeois parties and organizations, which had the support of the foreign residents. The Mensheviks and SR’s had a majority in most of the soviets.
The Bolsheviks, in their political work with the masses, relied on the support of the working class, the rural poor, the sailors of the Amur and Siberian flotillas, and the revolutionary soldiers and frontline cossacks. In September 1917 the Bolsheviks quit the joint Bolshevik-Menshevik party organizations. The region’s 4,700 Communists, guided by the newly formed Far Eastern regional party bureau, proceeded to campaign actively for new elections to the soviets. In the new executive committee of the Vladivostok soviet, elected in early November 1917, 18 seats went to the Bolsheviks, 11 to the SR’s, and three to the Mensheviks; two Bolsheviks headed the committee—K. A. Sukhanov, chairman, and V. M. Sibirtsev, secretary. On November 18 (December 1) the soviet proclaimed its assumption of power in Vladivostok and its recognition of the Sovnarkom. Similar resolutions were adopted by the soviets of other cities and villages, including Suchan and Nikol’sk-Ussuriiskii.
In Khabarovsk, too, the Bolsheviks succeeded in electing a new soviet, headed by the Bolshevik L. E. Gerasimov. On Dec. 6 (19), 1917, the soviet proclaimed the establishment of Soviet power in the city. On Dec. 12 (25) the third Far Eastern regional congress of soviets met in Khabarovsk, with 84 delegates: 46 Bolsheviks, 27 Left SR’s, nine Mensheviks, and two unaffiliated delegates. Recognizing the Sovnarkom as the sole center of power, the congress proclaimed the establishment of Soviet power throughout the Far East. A Bolshevik—A. M. Krasnoshche-kov—was elected chairman of the Soviet’s executive committee.
In November 1917 the “government of the cossack host, ” headed by the SR hetmán I. M. Gamov, declared its assumption of power in Blagoveshchensk. The city’s soviet followed a policy of accommodation, and it was only in January 1918 that the Bolsheviks succeeded in holding a new election and winning a majority in the soviet. At the congress of the soviets of peasants’ deputies that met in February in Blagoveshchensk, the Bolsheviks won adoption of their resolution declaring the establishment of Soviet power throughout Amur Oblast. An oblast executive committee (headed by F. N. Mukhin) was elected. When the White Cossacks, led by Gamov, captured Blagoveshchensk, all the members of the executive committee were arrested. An RMC was formed in order to combat the reactionary forces. Reinforcements came from nearby localities and from Khabarovsk, Vladivostok, and Chita. With the assistance of ships from the Amur Flotilla, the revolutionary forces restored Soviet power in Blagoveshchensk on March 12. Throughout the Far East, Soviet power prevailed by March 1918.
Overview. In Lenin’s words, the triumphant march of Soviet power during this period marked “the final and highest point of development of the Russian revolution” (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 36, p. 95). As Lenin declared at the meeting of the Moscow soviet on Mar. 12, 1918, “Soviet power was established not only in the large towns and factory areas, but also in the most remote corners of the country” (ibid., p. 86). Thanks to the support of the majority of the people, the triumph of the socialist revolution was ensured. An enormously important factor in the victory of Soviet power in various regions was the decrees on peace and on land and the Bolshevik Party’s policy with regard to agriculture and the national question.
The chief moving force was the Russian working class, succeeding as it did in drawing to its cause the poorest of the peasants, millions of soldiers, and other strata of Russia’s working population. The alliance between the working class and the poorest peasants was decisive in ensuring the triumph of Soviet power. To ensure united action on the part of the working class and the toiling peasants, the Bolshevik Party formed a bloc with the Left SR’s, thus greatly facilitating the establishment and consolidation of Soviet power on the local level.
The relative ease with which the socialist revolution prevailed was due to the soviets of workers’, soldiers’, and peasants’ deputies that existed both in the center and on the local level. The victory of the revolution was achieved without great sacrifice of human lives. To cite an example, out of 84 provincial capitals and other large cities, only 15 fell to Soviet power as a result of armed struggle. During the triumphant march of the revolution, the soviets established the revolutionary committees, or RMC’s. As of Oct. 25–27 (Nov. 7–9), 1917, more than 40 RMC’s were in operation throughout the country. In the various localities where they were formed, the hundreds of RMC’s that were subsequently formed played a major role in the victory of the revolution.
The triumph of Soviet power among the country’s numerous nationalities was, to a large extent, a function of the correct policies adopted toward the national question. Soviet power conferred equality of rights among the various peoples. On Nov. 2 (15), 1917, the Sovnarkom adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Peoples of Russia, and on November 20 (December 3) it issued the appeal To All the Toiling Muslims of Russia and the East, thus winning Russia’s oppressed nationalities to the side of the workers’ revolution. The Bolsheviks succeeded in merging the national liberation movement of the various peoples of Russia with the socialist struggle of the Russian proletariat. As a consequence, the revolution prevailed even in those national regions that maintained feudal and patriarchal relations and had not yet reached the capitalist stage of development.
The dynamics of the victory of Soviet power can be traced back to the major antecedent of such victory—namely, the fact that the country was ripe for the socialist revolution and had the Bolshevik Party as the true leader of the insurgent toiling masses of Russia. The party’s Central Committee, the All-Russian Central Executive Committee, and the Sovnarkom, headed by Lenin, led the struggle of the toiling people for the victory of the socialist revolution throughout Russia. During the first month of the revolution alone, the Petrograd RMC, following a directive of the party’s Central Committee, dispatched 250 commissars and instructors and 650 agitators to various localities; the All-Russian Central Executive Committee sent thousands of representatives to the local soviets. By March 1918, approximately 15,000 Bolsheviks had been sent to the provinces and districts by the party organizations of Petrograd. In late November and early December, the party’s Central Committee sent out instructions to the local party organizations—instructions that proved very helpful in resolving specific problems related to the establishment of Soviet power. The Sovnarkom held meetings almost daily to consider how to render assistance to the country’s various regions. During the period of the triumphant march of Soviet power, more than 30 regional and provincial party conferences were held, as well as dozens of party conferences on the district and city level. The entire Bolshevik Party was in action; it supplied coordination and a sense of purpose to the revolutionary movement throughout the country, and it determined the strategy and tactics of the struggle.
The victory of Soviet power testified to the gigantic preponderance of the revolutionary forces. Russia’s counterrevolution—the bourgeoisie and the large landowners—failed to gather a significant military force against the soviets, and it sought the help of international capitalism. With World War I in course, however, the imperialist countries were unable at that point to render military aid to the Russian forces of reaction. Both foreign and domestic circumstances thus proved favorable to the triumphant march of Soviet power. As a result of its victory, the Soviet state took shape and was consolidated, and the path was cleared for building a new socialist society.
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Velikaia Oktiabr’skaia sotsialisticheskaia revoliutsiia: Malen’kaia entsiklopediia. Moscow, 1968. Pages 278–85.
Velikaia Oktiabr’skaia sotsialisticheskaia revoliutsiia: Bor’ba za vlast’ Sovetov v period inostrannoi voennoi interventsii i grazhdanskoi voiny. Ukazatel’ literatury, 1957–1958 gg., fases. 1–4. Moscow, 1959. (Rotoprint.)
Ibid. Ukazatel’ literatury, 1959 g., fases. 1–2. Moscow, 1960. (Rotoprint.)
Ibid. Ukazatel’ literatury, 1960–1961 gg., fases. 1–3. Moscow, 1962. (Rotoprint.)
M. I. KUZNETSOV