Russian Republic (1917–1918)

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Not to be confused with Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (1917–1991)
Russian Republic
Российская Республика
1917–1918
Flag of Russian Republic
Flag
Coat of arms of Russian Republic
Coat of arms
Capital
and largest city
Petrograd
Official languagesRussian (national)
Finnish and Swedish (Grand Duchy of Finland)
Polish (Congress Poland)
Religion
Secular state
Dominant mode of productionCapitalism
GovernmentFederal parliamentary bourgeois republic
Area
• Total
22,400,000 km²
Population
• 1916 estimate
181,537,800


The Russian Republic was a bourgeois republic founded after the February Revolution and the fall of the Russian monarchy.

February Revolution

See main article: February Revolution

Provisional Government

The first leader of the provisional government was Georgy Lvov, an aristocratic prince, and his successor, Alexander Kerensky, was a liberal lawyer. Poliksena Shishkina-Iavein led a large demonstration on 19 March for equal rights, and a system of soviets formed dual power by April. Kerensky's government continued to support imperialism, leading the Bolsheviks to denounce it and call for another revolution.[1]

In March 1917, the Provisional Government sent Guchkov and Shulgin to meet with the former tsar. Guchkov and most of the bourgeoisie wanted to make Nicholas's brother Michael the new tsar.

The Provisional Government continued Russia's involvement in the First World War. In April 1917, Lenin returned from exile in Switzerland and called for the overthrow of the Provisional Government and the creation of a soviet republic.

On 2 May 1917, after Foreign Minister Pavel Milyukov released a note saying that Russia would continue fighting the war until it won. 100,000 workers and soldiers protested in response, and General Lavr Kornilov ordered his soldiers to shoot the protestors, but they refused. Milyukov and Guchkov were removed from the government, and a new government that included Mensheviks and SRs formed. At its Seventh Conference, the Bolshevik Party met, representing 80,000 members, and adopted the slogan "All power to the soviets." Kamenev and Rykov opposed Lenin and believed Russia could not have a socialist revolution, and Bukharin and Pyatakov opposed self-determination for non-Russians in the empire.

When the First All-Russian Congress of Soviets met in June 1917, the Mensheviks and SRs still had more delegates than the Bolsheviks.[2]

July Days

After a failed offensive in the war, workers in Petrograd began armed protests on 16 July. The Bolsheviks were not ready for an armed revolution yet and encouraged peaceful protests. Counterrevolutionary soldiers shot at the workers. Soon after, various reactionary groups destroyed Pravda's headquarters and issued an arrest warrant for Lenin.

In August 1917, the Bolsheviks secretly held their Sixth Congress. Lenin was not able to attend. Dual power was over and the soviets had lost power to the Provisional Government, so the party prepared for an armed revolution.[2]

Kornilov affair

In August, the Council of State met in Moscow with General Kornilov and representatives from Britain and France and planned to suppress the revolutionary movement and abolish the soviets. In September, he sent General Krymov's Third Mounted Corps to attack Petrograd. Kerensky worried that an uprising against Kornilov would overthrow him as well and tried to dissociate himself from Kornilov. Workers dug trenches around Petrograd, and sailors from Kronstadt arrived to defend the city. They defeated Kornilov's forces, leading Krymov to kill himself, and arrested Kornilov and Denikin. However, Kerensky soon released them. These events greatly increased the Bolsheviks' popularity, especially among the peasantry. The SRs and Mensheviks split into left and right factions.[2]

Republic

In September, the Mensheviks and SRs convened the All-Russian Democratic Conference to create a Provisional Council or "pre-parliament." In October 1917, the Bolsheviks met and sent Dzerzhinsky, Frunze, Kaganovich, Kuibyshev, Molotov, Orjonikidze, Voroshilov to lead the revolution in other parts of the former Russian Empire. They decided not to begin the revolution until the Second All-Russian Congress of Soviets met. Kerensky tried to move the capital from Petrograd to Moscow and surrender Petrograd to Germany in order to prevent the revolution. However, after Trotsky exposed the date of the planned uprising, the Bolsheviks decided to start the revolution one day early before Kerensky could make plans to stop it.[2]

October Revolution

See main article: October Revolution

References