However, when the Bolsheviks gained only 25 percent of votes in the 1917 elections, Lenin overturned the results and used military force to prevent democratic assembly.He established several state-centered government programs and policies that would continue, in some form, throughout the reign of the Soviet Union.
Shortly thereafter, the country dissolved into civil war between the ruling Bolsheviks and the White Guard, a loose alliance of anti-Bolshevik parties including tsarists, right-wing parties, nationalists and anti-communist left-wing parties.
Both sides engaged in terror tactics against each other included mass executions and the establishment of Prisoner of War labor camps, and wreaked havoc on the country’s already-weak agricultural and economic system.
The Bolshevik’s anti-war platform was popular among the Russian people, and Lenin used this momentum to overthrow the provisional government, take control of the country and pull Russia out of the war.
Lenin also promised “Bread, Land and Peace” to the large populations affected by the famine, further increasing the party’s popularity.
The new urban working class that lived and worked in terrible conditions throughout Europe got fed up with their life of squalor as they saw upper-class citizens (the bourgeois as Marx labeled them in the Manifesto) living lives of luxury.
The ideas and goals of communism appealed strongly to the revolutionaries even after the 1848 revolutions collapsed.Communism has been one of the most influential economic theories of all times; recognizing its influence is key to understanding both past and current events. Communism is a political ideology and type of government in which the state owns the major resources in a society, including property, means of production, education, agriculture and transportation.Moreover, the competition between communism and capitalism as played out in the Cold War was arguably the defining struggle of the 20th century. Basically, communism proposes a society in which everyone shares the benefits of labor equally, and eliminates the class system through redistribution of on income.For centuries leading up to World War I, Russia was ruled by an absolute monarchy under which the lower classes had long suffered in poverty.This tension was exacerbated by the nationwide famine and loss of human lives as a result of World War I.Following the end of the war in 1921, Lenin established the New Economic Policy, which allowed for private businesses and a market economy, despite its direct contradiction with Marxist ideology.He also annexed Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan to provide geographic and political protection from the Party’s political and ideological enemies. After his death, several members of the Communist Party’s executive committee, the Politburo, vied for control of the government.He also established the Cheka, a secret police force to defend the success of the Russian Revolution and censor and control anti-Bolshevik newspapers and activists.Following two failed assassination attempts, Lenin, following a suggestion from a military leader named Joseph Stalin, authorized the start of the Red Terror, an execution order of former government officials under the Czar and Provisional Government, as well as the royal family.Lenin disagreed with Stalin’s tactics in Georgia, and right before his death dictated notes in his Testament warning of Stalin’s excessive ambition and obsession with power, and advised that he be removed from the General Secretary position.However, Lenin died shortly thereafter and Stalin allied himself with several other Politburo members to suppress Lenin’s Testament and remain in a position of power.