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2. The Nature of Early Soviet Government
About this Lecture
In this module, we think about the nature of the government set up by the Bolsheviks following the October Revolution, focusing in particular on: (i) the traditional view that from the very moment the Bolsheviks took power, they deliberately and intentionally created a highly-centralised, repressive one-party state; (ii) the more recent view that the structure of government developed more gradually between 1917 and the mid-1920; (iii) the growth of ‘soviets’ during the civil unrest in 1905 and their re-emergence following the 1917 February Revolution; (iv) the size and political importance of the Petrograd Soviet in particular; (v) the political complexion of the First All-Russian Congress of Soviets, which took place in June-July 1917; (vi) the increasing support for the Bolsheviks between July and October, the political complexion of the Second All-Russian Congress of Soviets, and the beginning of the October Revolution; (vii) the creation of the Council of People’s Commissars (Sovnarkom) and the extent to which it was fundamentally different from the Provisional Government or the Tsarist Council of Ministers; (viii) the extent to which the Bolsheviks worked with representatives from other political parties, and the extent to which the Bolsheviks had a genuine commitment to the coalition; (ix) the extent to which the central committee of the Bolshevik Party was involved in the governing of the country; and (x) the disagreements within the Bolshevik Party over the First World War.
In this course, Dr Lara Douds (Northumbria University) explores the development of the Soviet system of government in the years following the October Revolution. In the first module, we introduce the rich and contested scholarship on this topic, including the concepts of ‘circumstantialism’ and ‘the totalitarian paradigm’. After that, we think about the nature of the government set up by the Bolsheviks following the October Revolution. In the third module, we explore why the Bolsheviks dissolved the newly-created Constituent Assembly after just thirteen hours, before turning in the fourth module to consider what the Red Terror can tell us (if anything) about the intrinsic nature of Bolshevism. Finally, in the fifth module, we think about the extent to which the political culture of the early Soviet regime was transformed and shaped by the experience of the long and brutal Russian Civil War, 1917-22.
Dr Lara Douds is Vice Chancellor's Research Fellow in History at Northumbria University. She is a specialist in the history of state building, political practice, and political culture in the first decade of Soviet power and author, among other things, of Inside Lenin’s Government: Power, Ideology and Practice in the Early Soviet State (2018).
Cite this Lecture
Douds, L. (2021, February 04). Russia: The Development of the Soviet Politics, 1917-22 - The Nature of Early Soviet Government [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/russia-the-development-of-the-soviet-politics-1917-22/the-nature-of-early-soviet-government
Douds, L. "Russia: The Development of the Soviet Politics, 1917-22 – The Nature of Early Soviet Government." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 04 Feb 2021, https://www.massolit.io/courses/russia-the-development-of-the-soviet-politics-1917-22/the-nature-of-early-soviet-government