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3. Who were the Bolsheviks?
About this Lecture
In this module, we think about the role of the Bolsheviks in the Russian Revolution, focusing in particular on the nature of the Bolsheviks’ seizure of power and the nature of the Bolsheviks themselves, focusing in particular on: (i) the events surrounding the 1917 Constituent Assembly elections, declared null and void by Lenin after the Bolsheviks had been beaten into second place by the Socialist-Revolutionaries; (ii) Lenin’s view of the socialist revolution as outlined in his 1902 political pamphlet ‘What Is To Be Done?’; (iii) the reasons for the split in 1903 of the Russian Socialist Democratic Labour Party into two factions – the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks; and (iv) the reasons for the Lenin’s ban in 1921 on factions in the Communist Party.
In this module, Dr Andy Willimott (Queen Mary, University of London) explores the Russian Revolution(s) of 1917. We begin in the first module by thinking about the events of 1917, from the final months of the First World War to the deposition of the Provisional Government by the Bolsheviks in November [O.S. October] 1917. After that, we think about the historiography of the Russian Revolution, focusing in particular on four different schools of thought among historians writing about the Revolution. In the third module, we look more closely at the role of the Bolsheviks in the Revolution – where they came from, what they believed in, and how they came to power – before turning in the fourth model to consider the extent to which the Russian Revolution was a feminist revolution. To what extent, in other words, did it concern itself with improving the lives of women? Finally, in the fifth module, we consider the cultural foundations and impact of the Russian Revolution, focusing in particular on the various cultural campaigns launched by the Bolsheviks, and the importance of culture in galvanising revolutionary energy in the 1920s.
Dr Andy Willimott is a Lecturer in Modern Russian History at Queen Mary, University of London. He has a particular interest in the formation and popular experience of revolution, radical discourse, and utopian models. His recent publications include Living the Revolution: Urban Communes and Soviet Socialism, 1917-1932 (2017) and (co-edited with M. Neumann) Rethinking the Russian Revolution as Historical Divide (2018).
Cite this Lecture
Willimott, A. (2019, October 15). Russia: The Revolution of 1917 - Who were the Bolsheviks? [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/russia-the-revolution-of-1917/who-were-the-bolsheviks
Willimott, A. "Russia: The Revolution of 1917 – Who were the Bolsheviks?." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Oct 2019, https://www.massolit.io/courses/russia-the-revolution-of-1917/who-were-the-bolsheviks