Was Stalinism implicit in October?

A Green view on the Bolshevik Revolution


Was October a Revolution?
The Workers State against the Workers
A Ruling Class?
The Soviets
World Revolution

Significant Dates
Back to History Links


When Lenin returned to Russia in April 1917, and in his April Theses' proclaimed uncompromising war on the provisional government and total opposition to the war, everyone thought he was committing political suicide. The Bolshevik Party (see Glossary )was small enough as it was with only a few isolated strongholds (notably the naval base of Kronstadt, the Volga city of Tsaritsyn and the Vyborg quarter in Petrograd itself). Surely Lenin's ultra-left stand would reduce Bolshevik influence even further? The opposite proved true.

Because the Bolsheviks were the only major group that opposed the government it was they who benefited from the growing disillusion with that government. But the Bolsheviks were riding a wave they could not control for the growing opposition was essentially spontaneous. In the countryside the peasants who took direct action to obtain land were still loyal to the Socialist Revolutionaries (see Glossary )while even in the Bolshevik stronghold of Vyborg the workers could as easily be swayed by anarchist orators.

That spontaneity took it's most dramatic form when the workers and soldiers of Petrograd rose in what came to be known as the July days. The aim of the workers was to overthrow the provisional government and give power to the Soviet. Against this the provisional government was helpless. It was the Soviet (controlled by moderate Mensheviks (see Glossary ) and Socialist Revolutionaries), who suppressed a rising supposedly in their favour.

The bitter irony of the situation is symbolised by the incident when Chernov, (see Glossary ) mobbed by a group of Kronstadt sailors was grabbed hold of by a worker. "Take power you bastard!" shouted the worker helpless with frustration.

Frustration indeed! How could the rebels succeed when those they wished to put in power were their main enemy? The Soviet called in fresh troops and the rising was suppressed.

In the wake of July the climate moved dramatically to the right. Lenin fled into hiding while Trotsky and even some Socialist Revolutionaries were arrested.

A group of workers from the Putilov factory graphically expressed their dismay.

"Where is justice. Where are the results of the blood and lives of the fighters who fell in the revolution? Where is the new life? Where is the paradise like green-red bird that so temptingly flew over our land and disappeared ... as if to deceive."

The man of the moment was Kornilov. Promoted by Kerensky to Commander in Chief of the army he soon became the hero of the right. In August he moved on Petrograd with the aim of suppressing the Soviet. But Kerensky got nervous. Afraid that Kornilov wanted a dictatorship for himself Kerensky denounced Kornilov and turned to the Soviet for support. Petrograd mobilised but it was leaflets not bullets that saved Petrograd. Agitators met Kornilov's troops and persuaded them to mutiny. Kornilov was arrested.

With Kornilov defeated it became clear that the right wing mood of the last month had been only on the surface. Now the tide was flowing leftwards with a vengeance but without the spontaneity of the pre-July movement - the Bolsheviks were firmly in control of the workers movement. Soon soviet after soviet began returning Bolshevik majorities. The soldiers who in February were fanatics for 'War for total victory had become bitter opponents of war.

Lenin wrote from hiding to the Bolshevik Central Committee telling them now was the time to take power. That's madness said the CC but Lenin persisted. Soon the prospect of a Bolshevik coup became an open secret and the Provisional Government decided to act. Scraping together its few remaining troops it occupied the Petrograd bridges and the Bolshevik printshops. From it's HQ in the Smolny institute the Petrograd Soviet under Trotsky ordered Red Guards and troops loyal to the Soviet into action. Soon with hardly a shot being fired the government troops were forced back on the Winter Palace. Then, as the second Congress of Soviets was opening, Red Guards and Kronstadt sailors broke into the Winter Palace and the Provisional government surrendered.

The government which took power through the revolution of October 1917 was of a kind the world has never seen before - a workers socialist republic.1

(How the Revolution was Lost: Socialist Worker pamphlet)

Two decades later Russia was, as the above writer would admit, a brutal dictatorship based on exploitation by a ruling class. How could such a transformation occur? Did events contrive to throw out the natural course of development or was Stalinism exactly the outcome that might have been expected.

October. Was it a revolution?

Revolution is used in two very different senses. First there is a popular uprising, Society is turned on it's head and the masses, normally excluded from events take action for themselves while the elites look on helplessly. Then there is the total social change. Syme in his The Roman Revolution describes how this occurred in ancient Rome with the rise of Augustus. Yet here the masses were no more than a pawn in Augustus' game and the change was no more than the replacement of one ruling class by another. October certainly led to total social change but was it a genuine popular uprising?

Popular uprisings do tend to lead to demands for total social change. First because the masses often find that even limited demands are blocked within the old .order and second because the experience of revolution gives them the confidence to demand more. Tragically before this second wave can fully develop the revolution often loses it's way and receives a fatal defeat.2

Is Russia 1917 an exception? Russia in 1917 was a land where the First World War had taken a desperate toll. At the front the soldiers fed up with defeat after defeat were deserting in droves. The economy was collapsing under the strain of war and food was short in the cities and even in many rural areas. In the villages the peasants were disillusioned with the Provisional Government under Kerensky that would not give them the right to expropriate the gentry's land. Certainly by October, then, the masses had realized that their limited aims ("Bread, Peace and Land"), were unachievable while the old order stood. But confidence? In Petrograd the prevailing mood was bitter disillusion not revolution. From differing political perspectives Sukhanov3, Chernov4 and Uritsky5 all describe the apathy. The revolution in Petrograd had already received it's fatal wound in July, when the workers had risen demanding that the Soviets take power and set up an all socialist government, only to be suppressed with troops raised by the Soviet itself. Even in Moscow there was little enthusiasm for a seizure of power.6 There was none of the burning necessity of October 1905 (when there was a general strike throughout Russia demanding a democratic constitution) or the enthusiasm of February 1917. Just a dull inevitability. Even Trotsky quotes Anet with approval who describes October as a "quiet revolution".7 The Bolsheviks were certainly able to whip up support as can be seen by the mass meeting they held in Petrograd at 'Peoples House' just before the October insurrection. But the atmosphere there was one of faith rather than the revolutionary spontaneity of a people discovering their own power.8

October was the result of one man, Lenin, who had to drag not merely the toilers but his own party into a battle that few had enthusiasm for. The masses did not take action for themselves but under the control of an elite, albeit an elite bitterly opposed to the old order.

Though less than a revolution October was more than a coup. The proletariat and the soldiers did support the seizure if often only passively. But the peasantry, the largest section of the toilers, were still loyal to the Socialist Revolutionaries, though they hated Kerensky's government.

Popular support for the Bolsheviks did not necessarily mean popular support for a Bolshevik seizure of power. The Bolsheviks in Petrograd seemed to have been counting on a provocation by Kerensky because they feared there was insufficient support for a seizure except for defensive reasons.9 What the workers wished for was not a Bolshevik dictatorship but a government including all socialist parties from the popular socialists to the Bolsheviks.10

I quote from Sukhanov a strong opponent of the war and of Kerensky's government but highly critical of the Bolsheviks.

A new revolution was admissible, an uprising was legitimate, the liquidation of the existing regime was indispensable. But all this was so - on condition of a united democratic front. That meant an armed struggle only against big capital and imperialism. It meant only the liquidation of the political and economic rule of the bourgeoisie and the landowners. It did not mean the definitive destruction of the old state and the rejection of its heritage. It meant the plenipotentiary participation of the petty-bourgeois, Menshevik-SR groups in the construction of a new state together with the proletariat and the peasantry. These were all unconditionally essential elements of the new society that was springing up on the ruins of the empire of the exploiting minority. And in the conditions of our revolution this was the only correct formulation of the problem.

But the leaders of the Bolshevik Party were hostile to all this. They formulated the basic task of the revolution incorrectly. And they continually carried on, not a policy of alliance, but the contrary policy of rupture split, and mutual isolation.


It is true that Lenin's intransigence was met by equal intransigence from the moderate socialists. The walkout by the SRs and the Mensheviks from the second Congress of the Soviets was gift for until then there was still the possibility that many nominal Bolsheviks might have supported a compromise. But Lenin seems to have been deliberately provoking this confrontation. The banning of the bourgeois press is a case in point. Sukhanov describes the action, which banned all non-socialist papers in Petrograd within a day of the Bolsheviks taking power, as pointless, serving only to antagonize wavering elements.12 Unless, that is, that to antagonize the moderate socialists and so kill any hope of a compromise was precisely the point.

This policy of polarization provoked opposition amongst leading Bolsheviks. Even though this opposition included half of Sovnarkom (Council of Peoples Komissars ie the Soviet Cabinet) and resulted in five resignations from the Bolshevik Central Committee13 Lenin's authority was so great he was able to bludgeon the opposition into line.

The Left Socialist Revolutionaries (Left SRs) were initially determined on a broad socialist government but the bitterness of the family strife amongst Socialist Revolutionaries soon forced them into Lenin's arms. Left SR participation provided a fig leaf for Bolshevik rule but the Left SR commissars were too isolated to effectively blunt the Bolshevik autocracy.14

The Workers State against the Workers

If October itself was not a revolution what followed looked remarkably like one. The soldiers and peasants needed no encouragement but the workers had been on the defensive in the weeks preceding October15. Taking October at it's face value the workers decided to take action to avert the effects of the economic crisis. While outright seizure of factories occurred only in minority of factories workers self management soon became the norm16.

There are two interpretations of the failure of this movement. The anarchist view is that the movement was crushed by the bitter opposition of the Bolsheviks. The most dramatic account is in Voline. He describes his own experience when he attended a meeting at the Nobel works which was a factory in Petrograd facing closure.17 Shlyapnikov, then minister of labour, had told the workers that there was no alternative to closure but they enthusiastically adopted Voline's suggestion that the workers run the factory themselves. Thereupon Shlyapnikov told the workers that such a selfish act would not be tolerated. Voline laconically adds that the factory closed a few weeks latter. The biggest gap in the account is that Voline does not tell us why the factory closed. Possibly it was the result of Bolshevik intervention but equally likely it was because the workers discovered that getting raw materials and finding customers was a lot more difficult than they expected.

The weakness of the anarchist explanation is that the factory committees were in trouble before the Bolsheviks turned against them. Initially the factory committees had been very successful. By bringing stockpiled resources into play they were able to keep the factories running for several weeks and workers set to the task with a will. Essentially this was living on capital. Justifiable as a stopgap the workers believed that with a socialist government the problems of raw material shortages and the like would ease.18 The shortages did not. The factory committees soon found themselves with the thankless task of running a factory in the midst of economic collapse while incurring the resentment of their fellow workers for unpopular decisions.19

An alternative view is that the workers essentially mismanaged things, so forcing the Bolsheviks to intervene. The Bolsheviks were initially supportive of workers control with Lenin himself widening the scope of the workers control decree.20 But the example's of worker's 'mismanagement' often do not bear close examination.21 And even if Tony Cliff (of the SWP) is right in saying that things were pretty chaotic with different factories competing for scarce resources22 that does not prove that factory control wasn't the most efficient way of running things under the circumstances. Unless of course you share with Cliff and the Bolsheviks a dogmatic belief that central planning is always more efficient.

Many factories were forced to close but the reason was usually neither Bolshevik repression or workers mismanagement but the economic crisis. But this does not let the Bolsheviks off the hook. The workers expected that the Bolshevik seizure would ensure that the resources of the state would be channelled to the benefit of the workers.23 Instead the demobilization of industry cut the market for many engineering firms that had been producing arms for the army. Obviously war production with the coming of peace was totally wasteful. However there was a great need for industrial products such as agricultural tools and machinery. The Bolsheviks could have replaced the military orders with orders for products that could have been supplied to the grain requisition parties to give to the peasants. The factory committees could have attempted this themselves and sent there own parties into the countryside to trade industrial goods for food (as indeed some factories did) but in doing so they would be acting quite illegally by breaking the government grain monopoly24.

Of course the Bolsheviks were at the time facing a strike amongst bank employees and civil servants and were incapable of giving any support. But this strike was a direct result of the Bolsheviks policy of confrontation and besides it is unlikely that the Bolsheviks would have provided support if they had been able. Once they got their act together they began to use the state against the factory committees25. The factory committees lost their independence and their powers. The Supreme Economic Council, established by the Soviet government, now demonstrated how to really mismanage the economy. Factories received directives that often had no relationship to reality. Often factory committees had established a good working relationship with the technicians but this was blown apart as many technicians were sacked from above.26.

If central control was so inefficient why did the Bolsheviks impose it? Burnham in his 'The Managerial Revolution' argued that the Bolsheviks used the masses break the capitalists and only when the capitalists were eliminated did they curb the workers27. Once the capitalists had been broken it was imperative to break the workers control before self management could really prove itself so ensuring that the workers would defend it against state encroachment. Whether their motive was a wish to establish themselves as the ruling class or their faith in central planing is immaterial. The effect was the same.

In retrospect the bridling of the factory committees seems a decisive stage in the degeneration of the revolution. Why then was there so little resistance? My first hunch was that the answer lay in October itself. More a popular putsch than a revolution there was not the revolutionary momentum to push through workers control against state resistance.

But the workers post October were far from passive. Opposition appeared almost as the dust had settled. The first group were the unskilled who, demanding equal wages, turned to the anarchists28. Then as this wave died back grievances such as repression came to the fore. For instance there was a wave of protest when the Bolsheviks openend fire upon a demonstration in Kolpino (a town near Petrograd) leaving several workers dead. Many workers especially the semiskilled turned to the Menshevik-SR block. But far from wishing to defend the factory committees the workers often turned their resentment against the factory committees.29

Rosenberg has argued that the failure of the proletarian opposition was due to the Mensheviks lack of any explanation of the crisis that would give the workers hope in improvement.30 Before October everything could be blamed on the bourgeoisie but afterwards it began to look as if the workers were faced with insoluble problems. But the anarchists did have an 'explanation'. Their attacks on Bolshevik centralization and the state found a ready response amongst the workers though the more skilled were not prepared to follow what they saw as the unskilled workers faction.31 For the more skilled the only viable opposition was the Menshevik-SR block who made no stand in favour of factory autonomy and indeed the Mensheviks were essentially hostile to it.

Had the anarchists been able break out of their unskilled political ghetto then the factory committees would have been an essential part of an attempt to build a workers society without the state. It is here we come to the final factor in the defeat of the factory committees. The Factory committees were overwhelmingly Bolshevik in composition. If they fought for factory autonomy this was because they believed that only they could solve the immediate problems - they had no quarrel with the principle of state regulation.32 Hence as they faced the erosion of their autonomy they attempted to fight within the system and made no attempt to whip up popular pressure against the government. Only such popular pressure could have saved them.

Hence the material for popular opposition in defence of the factory committees did exist but failed to gel due to divisions in the proletariat and the illusions of the Bolshevik members of the factory committees. Yet though my first hunch was superficial I still stand by it.

One of the distinguishing features of revolution is the way the leaders are forced to adopt popular aspirations. There was nothing in populist theory that prevented both wings of the SRs from breaking with their Social Democrat partners and making common cause with the anarchists on the issue of factory autonomy and they, unlike the anarchists would have had the trust of the more skilled workers. Further the Bolsheviks on the factory committees were a million miles from the Stalinist apparatchniks of latter times. They were experiencing at first hand the insanity of state planning when those at the centre acted in ignorance. Yet there were no Bolshevik Milyukovs to declare "Is this stupidity - or treachery!".33 (Milyukov, a liberal, denounced the Tsarist government in these terms just before the February Revolution.)

It is not essential to explain the defeat of the factory committees by looking at October. The divisions and illusions of the workers are explanation enough. Yet the potential divisions were at least as great in February but revolution forged a unity. Had October retained the revolutionary elan of the July days events might have taken a very different course.


On the 12th of December 1917 Trotsky the Peoples Komissar for international affairs was composing an ultimatum to the allies. As the Germans and the rest of the quadruple alliance had accepted the Soviet Peace formula (Peace with no annexations or indeminitys and self determination for all peoples) the allies should join in the negotiations or face the consequences. The implied threat was that Russia would sign a separate peace. Trotsky was in a good, not to say jubilant, mood. Who would have thought even a week before that the Bolshevik peace policy could have been such a complete success.

At that very moment Ioffe the chief soviet negotiator at the peace talks in Brest Litovsk was in the depths of despair for he had just learned what German acceptance really meant. General Hoffman had told him how the Germans welcomed the Soviet emphasis on self determination and noted that Poland and other territories (all the areas currently occupied by German troops) had expressed the desire to withdraw from the Russian Empire. Further should those territories "choose" union with Germany such would be a triumph of "self determination". So in the German dictionary self determination was another word for outright annexation.

Once the Soviet government back in Petrograd got over the shock three positions emerged. The Left SRs and Bukharin's left Bolshevik faction wanted revolutionary war. Lenin however had talked to delegates from the army and had been told that in the event of renewed war the best that could be hopped for was an orderly retreat at worst a precipitate rout34. If the army would not fight then the only alternative was peace - at any price. Trotsky however leaned to a middle course - no war no peace. Russia could not sign a shameful peace but it would withdraw from the war. In effect Trotsky was hoping for a permanent cease fire as exists between Israel and Syria. Lenin seeing the advocates of revolutionary war so strong decided to back Trotsky's no war no peace scheme as the lesser evil.

But the negotiations went on. For no war no peace to work the Quadruple Alliance must expose themselves as the imperialists that they were. Then for Germany to to invade Russia would, so Trotsky hopped, outrage public opinion in Germany sufficiently to cause the German generals to pause.

Meanwhile events in the Ukraine added an extra complication. In Kiev, the capital, sat a moderate socialist government known as the Rada. In Kharkov to the east ruled a Ukrainian Soviet government. The Rada had obtained the right to represent the Ukraine but as the negotiations in Brest Litovsk moved to a close the Rada authority collapsed and Red Guards entered Kiev. Meanwhile the now defunct Rada signed a separate peace with the Quadruple Alliance that committed the Ukraine to supply large quantities of grain and raw materials to them.

Trotsky in the meantime had been leading the Soviet delegation. Conducting the negotiations with an eye to world opinion (the Soviets had insisted that all negotiations should be reported fully) he attempted to spin out the negotiations. Finally the Germans lost patience. The Russians must complete the negotiations by January the 28th (February the 10th). Right up to the end the Quadruple Alliance was still uncertain whether Russia would make peace or attempt to carry on the war (they were totally unaware of the Soviet no war no peace policy). At the last minute the Germans suggested the Ukrainian Soviet government could take over the Rada treaty but Trotsky pointed out that Russia needed the Ukrainian grain for itself.35

On the evening of 28th Kuhlmann the German foreign secretary moved to wind up the negotiations and asked Trotsky for his final word. Now it would be seen whether the negotiators had been successful or whether the war would restart. Trotsky replied by a bitter denunciation of German greed but the Germans and Austrians were used to such rhetoric. Then Trotsky's tone changed. No more would the blood of the Russian toilers be spilt for the cause of either of the two camps of imperialism - Russia was withdrawing from the war and would demobilize her armies.

Kuhlmann and Hoffmann breathed easy. So after all Trotsky would sign.

But Trotsky went on. The proposed peace merely disguised violent seizure of large tracts of land by violence. "Let them do so openly," continued Trotsky, "We cannot approve violence. We are going out of the war but we feel ourselves compelled to refuse to sign the peace treaty."36

Trotsky's opponents were stunned by the unexpected turn of events. Only Hoffmann's barely audible "unerhort!" broke the silence. Then admits a mixture of desperate appeals and threats from Kuhlmann the Soviet delegation walked out of the negotiations.

Unfortunately this state of shock did not last for within days German troops were advancing with the Russian army in total collapse and there was not a hint of opposition from within Germany - not even from the German Social Democrats. By one vote (Trotsky's) the Central committee voted to capitulate. This time there were no negotiations. The Soviet delegation accepted without argument everything the opposing negotiators proposed, rather than hide the fact that it was a purely dictated peace. But even that was not the end for the treaty did not apply to the Ukraine and German troops soon ousted the Soviet government there and reinstalled the Rada. But the Rada success was short lived for it was soon to be replaced by the extreme right government of Skoropadskii. The only satisfaction to be gained for the Bolsheviks was that partisan warfare soon made the Ukraine ungovernable.

Spiridonova described Brest-Litovsk as the end for the revolution37. Voline said the same with a little more depth. Any state is bound eventually to do something unpopular and so come into conflict with it's people - for the Bolsheviks this was Breast-Litovsk.38 Rosenberg also sees it as a turning point in the growth of workers opposition.39

Much as it hurts I think Lenin was quite correct. If peace had been signed on January the 28th (when Trotsky walked out of the negotiations with his no war no peace declaration) the Ukraine could have been saved.40 If peace had been signed earlier as Lenin wished then conceivably even better terms could have been obtained.41

The alternative of revolutionary war could only have been a partisan war and the example of the Ukraine shows it might well have proved effective. However the toilers were in the main in favour of peace at any price42. Rosenberg suggests that workers opposed Brest Litovsk from the first but the example he gives is from Tula, a provincial capital south of Moscow and one of the few places where the PSR retained a proletarian following past October and hence hardly typical43.

It is easy to dismiss Trotsky's 'No War No Peace' as the worst possible. Trotsky believed that the revolution would fail if confined to backward Russia so the spread of world revolution was imperative. Hence if a Soviet defiance helped encourage revolutionary unrest in western Europe than it was worth risking a German invasion by not signing.

Further Trotsky's policy was arguably based as solidly in realpolitic as Lenin's. If it was in the Germans interests to invade why should a piece of paper dissuade them? If the Germans decided to respect the treaty for other reasons (eg fear of encouraging anti-war unrest in Germany and the need to transfer troops to the Western Front) why soil the revolution's name by signing a shameful peace? What this ignored was the divisions within Germany. A treaty could have frozen the debate in the moderates favour but by refusing to sign the militarists were given another opportunity to try their expansionist policy. The German attack resulted in more than just the loss of large tracts of territory - it exposed the total incapacity of Russia to resist so encouraging further depredations after the treaty was signed.

No War No Peace bears a superficial resembelence to pacifism. Like Satygraha it depended on success in winning the sympathy of the 'enemy' rather than fighting them (ie the german workers and soldiers). But Satygraha does this by winning the moralle high ground; something the Bolsheviks who had taken power by violence could not do. Hoffmann was at the negotiations able to, quite justifiably attack the Bolsheviks for flouting the principles of self determination in their own territory while advocating it for German occupied territory. And when Hoffmann declaired that the Bolshevik regime was based 'purely on force' Trotsky could only reply "Throughout all history no other kind of government has been known". All this being faithfully recorded by the stenographers and broadcast to the world.

But more that that Trotsky's policy was essentially a bluff. He had agreed with Lenin that should the Germans invade, despite his expectations, then Russia should sign whatever terms were offered. Satygraha does not rest on the belief that violence will not be used against those resisting nonviolently but a determination to continue resistance no matter what violence is used. In that sense Satygraha was closest to the advocates of revolutionary war. Of course the toilers had even less inclination towards Satygraha than fighting a partisan war.

However if Lenin was right to press for signing the left SRs were right to oppose. The toilers of the Ukraine had a very real reason for opposing the peace and the Left SRs demand for solidarity had a much more concrete meaning than the abstractions of Trotsky's permanent revolution. But if Lenin had had his way from the beginning this would never have arisen.


Ukraine was one of Russia's granaries. If bread had been short before the the Germans had invaded and conquered the Ukraine then it must surely become desperate after. Food shortages in the towns alienated the workers and in their desperate attempts to requisition grain from the villages the Bolsheviks moved into a state of semi war with the peasants44. So perhaps we must blame Breast-Litovsk after all for Bolshevik descent into tyranny.

The basis of the government food policy was the government monopoly in grain. This had been set up under the Provisional Government but under the Bolsheviks it took on a much more ruthless form.

In theory the peasants would receive industrial goods to the value of the grain taken but the pricing system was heavily stacked against the peasants and often they only received rapidly depreciating currency. Narkomprod (the Ministry of Production) proved to be totally inefficient in it's supply of industrial goods and of course the production of numerous artisans who worked in small workshops was completely outside it's orbit.45 Not surprisingly the peasants weren't willing to trade on these terms and the requisition parties even used torture to force the peasants to reveal where they had hidden the grain.

The peasants were willing to supply the cities but for a fair price. From villages throughout Russia groups of peasants with bags of grain on their backs made their ways to the cities to exchange bread for goods. Rather than encouraging this self activity the Bolsheviks denounced these 'bag traders' as speculators and the state did all in its power to suppress them. But these despised bag traders were not petty capitalists but ordinary peasants obtaining goods that their village needed. It was the Bolshevik state not the bag traders who acted like a capitalist in its merciless attempts to exploit the peasantry.

The opposition advocated free trade in grain. Free trade would probably have enabled the city to supply far more to the country side because the artisans would have been able to trade directly with the peasants. Further if the bag traders did not have to face the risk of arrest and interment then they would have been prepared to accept far less for their goods.

Lenin denounced the call for free trade, saying that as the workers got half their food from the bread ration and only half from the black market they would stave without the ration.46 Isn't it a gem! For in his own words he's admitted that the workers would have starved without the black market which the state was making every effort to destroy.

Free trade in grain plus a tax in kind would have removed a large repressive apparatus and would have substantially reduced the grievances of the villages. Roi Medvedev argues that free trade would have avoided the famine in the cities.47 Medvedev though an honest historian is capable of inaccuracy.48 Nonetheless there is a strong case that it was the Bolsheviks grain policy rather than Breast-Litovsk that was responsible for the famine.

A Ruling Class?

Due to it's policies Sovnarkom by the late spring of 1918 had come into conflict with both sections of the toilers. As the effect of those policies (the attack on workers control, state direction of industry and the state monopoly of trade) was to give control of the means of production into a group of state officials and party cadres. In short they had taken on the most important attribute of a ruling class.

To say it was already an exploiting class is less tenable. It is possible to find examples of the new class grasping at new privileges49 but even Voslenski (a Soviet dissident who argued that Russia was a class society ruled by the Nomenklatura) admits that real privileges came in the thirties50. For the toilers this is a bit academic for their standard of living was just as badly hit by the infant nomenklatura's desire to control economic life as it would have been if the new class had been siphonining off a massive surpluses for their own benefit. Further however sincere socialists the Bolsheviks were, once established as a ruling class it was only a matter of time before they were either corrupted by their new class position or replaced by a new group who had none of their scruples.

It may be objected here that the Bolsheviks did not have sufficient power to merit the title 'ruling class'. By the spring of 1918 however capitalist management had been virtually eliminated51 and the factory comities had been subordinated to state direction. True the Bolsheviks had only the most crude administrative machinery and often issued orders in complete ignorance. They did however have the force to ensure that in the cities those orders, however stupid, would be obeyed.

The grain monopoly was not however obeyed. It's been estimated that 60% of grain supplied to the cities was by means of bagtraders.52 It is only by seeing the Bolsheviks as a new class that the Bolshevik phobia towards the bagtraders makes sense. Unless the Bolshevik new class imposed the grain monopoly the key areas of economic life would be controled by the peasantry. Lenin, as a Marxist would have believed that ultimately economic realitys would reasert themselves over politics. Hence if the bagtaders succeeded the Bolshevik regime would be a house built on sand.

The emerging Soviet system echoed that of Tsarist Russia. Under Tsarism the state had always been the dominant exploiter. The nobility had their origins as state officials and unlike their Carolingian counterparts they were never able to form a feudal class independent of the state. (The officials of the Carolingian empire of Charlamaigne that ruled France and Germany around 900 AD eventually became the hereditary Counts of feudalism) More recently it was the state's financing of industrialization by turning on the screws on the peasants that had produced the discontent that had led to revolution.

A party of toilers should have fought against state control (this is not to say they need necessarily have been anarchist). Indeed during 1917 while the Mensheviks were extolling the virtues of state control53 the Bolsheviks attacked this as Chinovnik control54. Ah but the new state was a Soviet state and so under the toilers control. Wasn't it?

The Soviets

The Bolsheviks practiced manipulation from the first.55 When the Bolsheviks were faced with an SR peasant soviet in Voronezh (a province in Southern Russia) they simply organised another56. When Antonov-Ovseenko entered Rostov in February 1918 he declared: "Truly power belongs to the soviet but your soviet is no good and we will disband it!"57

It was in the spring that the Bolsheviks showed how little they really supported the soviets. As discontent grew soviet after soviet fell to Menshevik-SR blocs58. To stay in power they had to destroy the soviets59 and they did. Opposition victories were followed by disbanding of the soviets and often martial law.60

For instance in Tambov city in April the Mensheviks and SRs won control of the city Soviet and the Bolsheviks were reduced to a third of the Soviet. The Bolsheviks faction then demanded 7 out of the 12 executive posts even though traditionaly partys had the right to be represented on Soviet executives in proportion to their numbers. Ominously they said if their request was refused they would consider themselves "free to act". The new Soviet of course refused theropon the old Soviet Bolshevik members hitched up with the Provincial Soviet and declaired the elections were void because the old Soviet had not been informed of campaign meetings. From then on all attempts of the new Soviet were dispersed with armed bodies of men.61

Tony Cliff justifies the repression on the grounds that the Mensheviks and the Socialist Revolutionaries were not prepared to accept the Soviet system and quotes Carr as saying that the opposition rejected the role of 'constitutional opposition'.62 He tries to move forward the repression until after the outbreak of full civil war. To quote: "Despite their strong opposition to the government, for some time, ie until after the armed uprising of the Czechoslovakian Legion - the Mensheviks were not much hampered in their propaganda work".63 But to quote a few hostile articles in Novi Zhizn64 (a paper edited by the writer Maxim Gorky) merely proves that the Bolshevik repression was sporadic. If having papers banned every now and then, members arrested65 and soviets being disbanded as soon as they get a Menshevik majority is "not much hampered" then Cliff does seem to be giving that phrase a new meaning.

The Bolshevik assault on the soviets occurred during march, april and may. That is before the Czech rising and the onset of full scale civil war which occurred in late May. Nor is it true that the Mensheviks rejected constitutional methods. Though they wished to see a reconvocation of the Constituent Assembly they believed that the only way to do this was by winning a majority of the soviets.66 The SRs while not being so firmly committed to peaceful methods in practice accepted the Mensheviks tactics.

The repression cannot be justified by evoking the anti sovietism of the Mensheviks and SRs (in that they believed that Soviet power must give way to the constituent assembly). At the fifth Congress of the Soviets in July 1918 the Bolsheviks were faced by a vigorous opposition from the Left SRs which the Bolsheviks met with blatant gerrymandering. The Ukrainian delegation (as the Ukraine was under German occupation it was a safe bet that the delegation would support the Left SRs) was disallowed while the Congress was packed with representatives from the committees of poor peasants (as all political parties opposed these committees except the Bolsheviks it is again safe to assume that these were composed mainly of Bolshevik sympathizers).67 This proved to be sufficient so we will never know what would have happened if the Left SR had gained a majority. My guess is that the Congress would have been surrounded by troops loyal to the Bolsheviks and disbanded.

It was the assassination of German Ambassador Mirbach that finally transformed the Soviets into one party institutions. By July of 1918 the toilers who had initially supported peace with the Germans had come to see Brest-Litovsk as a great betrayal. In the Ukraine there was growing resistance against the brutal puppet government set up by the Germans. The Left SRs decided to provoke war with Germany by assassinating the German ambassador. This was not a revolt as Cliff claims68 for the LSR had no intention of overthrowing the government69. At least not directly. A German invasion could only have been met by partisan warfare and the Bolsheviks would have been reduced to just one group of partisans like everyone else. The Bolshevik state would have been destroyed - something the Left SRs would have welcomed.

It was a subtle strategy but one that was dangerously wrong. While the Left SR delegates denounced the Bolshevik the Left SR armed wing prepared for armed resistance, not for insurrection but to foil the expected Bolshevik repression. Then a bomb was thrown into the Germany Embassy killing the ambassador. The assassination did not however provoke war but instead gave the Bolsheviks the pretext to break the Left SRs. And once the the Left SRs had been forced underground there was no legal opposition to speak of left.

Cliff explains the decline in Soviet power as due to their unwieldiness.70 More relevant was that Congresses dominated by one party (eg 6th Congress 933 Bolsheviks versus 16 others71) bound by discipline were unlikely to be more than a rubber stamp when their party was the government. Cliff explains the decline in local soviets as a result of the civil war72 but more important these soviets were by now so unrepresentative of those who nominally elected them that they were dependent on Moscow to keep them in power.73


Stalinism is often a synonym for rule by terror. There is little dispute that Lenin's Bolsheviks used terror. The defence of Lenin usuly claims that for him teror was an emergency measure forced on him during the civil war. But here again political executions predated the outbreak of full scale civil war.

To pretend these killings never occurred as does Cliff needs blind faith but there is a tenable apologia for the Bolsheviks. That (and this the view of Price an eyewitness) the killings were the responsibility of freelance anarchists and maximalists.

An example is the murder of Kokoshkin and Shingarev. These were two ex ministers of the Provisional government. That they were in prison at all was an injustice and for this reason Stienberg the Left-SR Komisar of Justice wanted to release them and as a first stage moved them from their prison to a hospital ward. Here they were murdered by two Kronstadt sailors assigned as their guard. Stienberg was outraged and at first it seemed that Lenin shared his concern but when it came to the crunch Lenin refused to back him in demanding that Kronstadt give up the two murderers.74 If this example is typical then clearly, while the Bolsheviks were not directly responsible, they certainly cuperble by neglect.

These two Ministers were merley the two most prominant victims. In the first few months of Bolshevik rule there were many 75others. Melgunev claimed to have a list (by no means exhaustive) of 884 victims in this period76. These murders were not officialy aproved yet the Bolsheviks did nothing to prevent them. Indeed the Bolshevik slogans such as "Peace to the Huts - War to the Palaces!" did much to encourage them. To a large extent the popular terror alowed the Bolsheviks to benefit from a level of intimidation while not having to take responsibility for it - with the implied threat that wihout the Bolshevik moderating hand an anarchic jaquerie would be unleashed.

Yet if Lenin used popular anger in this way it is also true that a section of the people were ready to be used. The Kronstadt sailors, the heroic fighters for freedom when they rose against the Bolsheviks in 1921, were preparing the ground for their own destruction when they protected the murderers of Shingarev and Kokoshkin.

When the Bolsheviks managed to control the freelance groups the killings did not end. The Cheka used widespread executions to keep order and enforce Bolshevik economic polices.77 However the presence of Left SRs in Collegium ensured that for a time there were no political executions.78

It is true that given the widespread hostility to the government grain monopoly the Cheka, with all it's brutality and lawlessness, was the only way to enforce Bolshevik policies. The Bagtraders were armed bodies of men - a pretty heavy bunch. But no democratic government would have even contemplated imposing such an unpopular policy.

But was the terror simply a mistake? I quote Stienberg

We were discussing a harsh police measure with far reaching teroist potentialities. Lenin resented my opposition to it in the name of revolutionary justice. So I called out in exasperation, "Then why do we bother with a commissariat of Justice? Let's call it frankly the Commisariat of Social Extermination and be done with it!" Lenin's face suddenly brightend and he replied, "Well put ... that's exactly what it should be ... but we can't say that."

Mistake? Lenin knew exactly what he was doing.

World Revolution

The terror and the civil war put the finishing touches into transforming the Bolshevik professional revolutionaries into a ruling class whose relationship with the toilers was one of master to serf. Is this really anything to do with socialism?

Social Democrats (including Lenin) had always argued that the economic conditions were not ripe for revolution in Russia. Hence it was entirely in conformity with social democrat theory - even Leninist theory - that a socialist transformation in Russia would lead to political and economic catastrophe. The get out was that if the revolution spread to western europe a socialist federation would be set up that would have a strong enough economic basis for socialism to prosper.

I disagree with both propositions. First I agree with the populists that a form of socialism was possible. That is to say, a form of market socialism based on workers running the factories and the peasants controlling the land was not only possible but being implemented by the toilers themselves. The state's role would have been one of support rather than direction and of ironing out some of the irationalitys of the market. In Lenin's eyes only a centralised 'planned' economy is true socialism. Perhaps he was right . But an attempt to have all economic life directed according to a central plan would, I believe, have failed if implemented Europe wide just as surely as it did in Russia alone.

But no matter. Let us imagine that the Bolsheviks were right. Then the attempt to implement socialism in Russia was merely a method of inspiring the workers of more industrial countries to follow suit. If the Russian toilers were so parochial that they were satisfied with a more decentralised form of socialism and failed to see why they should provide an example to the rest of the world then the Bolsheviks had the right, indeed the duty, to force it on them. As Lenin said "It isn't a question of Russia at all, gentlemen. I spit on Russia.... This is merely one phase through which we must pass on the way to a world revolution." The Russian toilers were pawns in a much bigger game.

The October Revolution then was a gamble. We know that it failed. Revolution was defeated in Western Europe. The Bolshevik professional revolutionaries were left as a strange anomaly - a ruling class who believed they had no right to exist. They survived on borrowed time until the thirties they were bloodily deposed by Stalin's nomenklatura in the great purges. In the process the idea of workers revolution became associated with famine and tyranny. So much for the Bolsheviks duty to world revolution.

But what if the gamble had paid off? If the existence of a socialist state had inspired a world revolution would not this have justified the Bolshevik experiment. It is true that Soviet Russia did indeed provide an inspiration for the world. Russia, it was believed, was a land of plenty and freedom where the workers controlled their destiny. The reality was repression, famine and the lack of the most basic worker rights such as the right to strike. As inspiration the October revolution was a con. It inspired purely because many were prepared believe Russia was what it claimed to be - a workers republic. Even if we say that a lie that builds revolution was justified that hardly justifies the Bolshevik imposition of their doctrinaire form of socialism. If all it needed was for the worlds workers believe that socialism had triumphed in Russia then all the Bolsheviks need have done was issue a proclamation announcing this ... and let the toilers get on with making their own revolution.


There are two important features of October. Most obvious is that October brought the Bolsheviks to power. Bolshevik rule as it unfolded showed itself as a ruthless dictatorship dominated by one individual - Lenin. And it did unfold. It did not 'develop' for events rather than shaping Bolshevik rule merely revealed it in its true colours. October itself was a massive step on the road to Stalinism.

But Stalinism could not have developed from Bolshevism if the Bolsheviks had lost power. This brings me to the second feature of October - the lack of revolutionary spirit. Often as in February 1917 a government that has been carried into power on a revolutionary wave begins in a very weak position. Any independent action of that government against the wishes of the masses risks the survival of that government. The Bolsheviks did not face this problem and hence opposition grew only gradually as they conducted a major assault on the revolution. The nature of October is a crucial factor in explaining the survival of the Bolsheviks.

Significant Dates

1905 Jan Bloody Sunday - Tsarist troops open fire on a peaceful demonstration of workers in St Petersburg (future Leningrad).

1905 October General Strike sweeps Russia which ends when the Tsar promises a constitution.

1905 December In response to the suppression of the St Petersburg Soviet the Moscow Soviet organises a disastrous insurrection that the government suppresses after five days

1906 The promised parliament, the Duma, is dissolved when it produces a anti government majority even though elected on a narrow franchise.

1911-1914 A new wave of workers unrest ends with the outbreak of the First World War

1917 Feb After several days of demonstrations in Petrograd (formally St Petersburg) the government orders troops to open fire. The next day these troops mutiny. The Tsar abdicates when he hears that Moscow too has joined the Revolution. An agreement is reached between the Petrograd Soviet and the Provisional Government headed by Lvov.

1917 March 12th Abolition of the death Penalty

1917 April 18th Milyukov note. Milyukov tells allies that war aims unchanged.

1917 April 20 - 21 The April Days. Opposition to the Foreign Minister Milyukov boils over due to his refusal to renounce annexations.

1917 May Milyukov resigns. Members of the Mensheviks and the Socialist Revolutionaries join the government.

1917 June 3 First All-Russia Congress of Workers and Soldiers Soviets opens.

1917 June 18 Offensive launched by Russia against Austria Hungary.

1917 July The July Days. (3rd and 4th) Workers and soldiers in Petrograd demand the Soviet takes power. Sporadic fighting results and the Soviet restores order with troops brought back from the front. Trotsky arrested. Lenin goes into hiding. A new provisional government is set up with Kerensky at it's head (8th).

1917 July 12th Death Penalty reintroduced for the front.

1917 Aug The Kornilov putsch. An attempt by General Kornilov to establish a right wing dictatorship is a disastrous flop. Chernov the leader of the Socialist Revolutionaries resigns from the government denouncing Kerensky for complicity in the plot.

1917 Sept The Bolsheviks win control of the Petrograd Soviet.

In the countryside peasant siezure of land from the gentry continues.

1917 Oct The Bolsheviks overthrow the Provisional government on the eve of the meeting of 2nd All-Russia Congress of Soviets.

1917 Oct 26/27 Soviet proclamations on land and peace. Death Penalty abolished.

1917 Nov 7th Ukraine proclaimed independent by the Central Rada.

1917 Nov 12-14 Elections to the Constituent Assembly. Socialist Revolutionaries the largest party.

1917 Dec (early) Congress of Socialist Revolutionaries results in victory for the left under Chernov. Likewise Menshevik Congress gives victory to Martov's Menshevik internationalists.

1918 Jan 5th The Constituent Assembly in which the Bolsheviks are a minority meets for one day before being suppressed.

1918 Jan 28th Trotsky denounces the German Peace Terms as unacceptable and walks out of the peace negotiations at Brest-Litovsk.

1918 Feb 1/14 Russia adopts Western (Gregorian) calendar.

1918 Feb 18th The Germans invade Russia which is all but defenceless as virtually the entire army has deserted.

1918 March The Bolsheviks accept the dictated peace of Brest-Litovsk. The Left SRs denounce the peace and leave the government.

1918 April 12th Moscow headquarters of the anarchists surrounded and attacked by Bolshevik troops

1918 May 9th Bolshevik troops open fire on workers protesting at food shortages in the town of Kolpino

1918 May (late) The Czechoslovak legion mutinies against the Bolshevik government. Using the railways they are able to sweep away Bolshevik control from vast areas of Russia. The Socialist Revolutionaries support the rising.

1918 July Fifth Soviet Congress. The left SRs assassinate the German ambassador and are in turn crushed by the Bolsheviks.

1918 18th November Kolchak, stages a coup against the Directory, the multi party government in Siberia,and establishs a counterrevolutionary despotism.

1919 White Armies attack the Bolsheviks from all directions but the Red Army is finally victorious.

1920 War with Poland. Last White army under Wrangel destroyed in the Crimea

1921 Peasant unrest sweeps Russia. The old Bolshevik stronghold of Kronstadt rises demanding free election to the Soviets. These risings are suppressed but the New Economic Policy is proclaimed that gives the peasants the right to sell their grain surpluses

1924 Lenin dies. Trotsky is defeated by a triumvirate of Stalin, Kamenev and Zinoviev. Though Stalin stays in the background it is he who is the real power as the other two will shortly discover.


Bolsheviks. The Russian Social Democrat and Labour Party split at its Congress in 1904. Bolsheviks were those who followed Lenin.

Chernov, Victor. The left wing leader of the Socialist Revolutionary Party - the Hamlet of the Russian Revolution. Though against the war and genuinely commited to social change he was bound by loyalty to the right wing leadership of the Socialist Revolutionary Party. He was mininster of Agriculture in the first two coalitions.

Chinovnik A kind of aristocratic bureaucracy that dominated the Tsarist civil service.

Mensheviks. The Mensheviks were a real mixed bunch (Trotsky was originally a Menshevik!). What they had in common is that they were Marxists but didn't believe Lenin was God. During 1917 the dominant Menshevik faction supported the government and the war effort. After the October revolution a more left wing faction the Menshevik-Internationalists won control of the party.

Socialist Revolutionaries (PSR). A socialist party that unlike the Marxists believed that it was the peasantry not the workers who were the most revolutionary class. Though nominally led by Victor Chernov it was actually controlled by a right wing faction for most of 1917. The more left wing faction under Chernov won control after October. In many areas they have much in common with modern Greens. The mistrusted the Marxists enthusiasm for economic growth above all else and had a land policy that a moderd green party would be proud of. They also share with modern greens a strong commitment to decentralisation. On violence however there is a big gulf for unlike modern greens comitment to nonviolence the SRs celebrated assasination as way of bringing down tyrants.

Left Socialist Revolutionaries (Left SRs) Throughout 1917 there was a strong anti-war faction within the PSR. Immediately after the Bolshevik siezure of power they were expelled for refusing to boycott the Bolshevik controlled Soviets. They then formed a separate party.

Toilers (Truzhyenik) A term used Socialist revolutionaries to cover workers, peasants and white collar workers as opposed rabotnik which only applied to industrial workers.


How the Revolution was Lost: Socialist Worker pamphlet

The Russian Revolution: William H Chamberlin

The Russian Revolution of 1917: N N Sukhanov

In the Workshop of Revolution: I Z Steinberg

Moscow Workers and the 1917 Revolution: Diane Koenker

The Petrograd Workers and the fall of the Old Regime: The Petrograd Workers and the Soviet Seizure of Power:

David Mandel

The Bolshevik Revolution and Workers Control in Russian Industry: P Avrich. Slavic Review vol XXII p47

The workers Revolution in Russia 1917: Edited by D Kaiser

Red Petrograd: S A Smith

The Managerial Revolution: Burnham

Nomenklatura: Mikhail Voslenski

My Disillusion with Russia: Emma Goldman

The Unknown Revolution: Voline

Revolution and Survival: Richard Debo

The Sickle under the Hammer: Oliver Radkey

The October Revolution: Roi Medvedev

Utopia in Power: Heller and Nekvich

The History of The Russian Revolution: Leon Trotsky The "Class Tragedy" of Izhevsk: S M Berk. Russian History, vol 2, pp176-190.

The Menshevik's Political Comeback - The elections to the provincial soviets in spring 1918: Vladimir Brovkin. Russian Review 42 (1983) pp 1-50.

Lenin: David Shub

Dear Comrades - Menshevik Reports on the Bolshevik Revolution and the Civil War.
Vladimir Brovkin


1 SWP p4

2 Examples are Poland 1980 which received it's decisive setback in the spring of 81 when Walensa backed down over Bydgoszcz [see The Polish August: N Ascherson pp264-6] and Spain 36 which received its decisive defeat in May 37 in Barcelona [see Spain: Felix Morrow]. I could go on but I think you get the idea.

3 Sukhanov p559 see also p490 where he describes how Yaroslavl retained the revolutionary life that Petrograd had lost.

4 The Russian Provisional Government vol3 p1573. This is in fact an unsigned editorial in Delo Naroda but the style and line is clearly Chernov.

5 Chamberlin p292

6 Koenker p332 and p340

7 Trotsky 1084

8 Sukhanov p583-85 Trotsky's account (vol 3 p224) gives a similar feel and though he adds at the end "the leaders saw and listened to the masses" there is little evidence for this in his description.

9 Koenker p330 who cites Rabinowitch: The Bolsheviks come to power, p222

10 The workers Revolution in Russia 1917 p75 for Petrograd, Koenker p346 for Moscow.

11 Sukhanov p542

12 Sukhanov p650

13 Chamberlin p352 Chamberlin lists five out twelve Sovnarkom members as resigning. Melgunov says that Shlyapnikov only signed a note of protest but also adds Lunacharsky as among the opponents of confrontation. pp171-2 That is to say half of Sovnarkom were opposed to Lenin.

14 Steinberg's account In the Workshop of Revolution conveys the helplessness of the SR commissars graphically

15 Mandel p264

16 Avrich p53

17 Voline pp289-95

18 The workers Revolution in Russia 1917 p109

19 The workers Revolution in Russia 1917 p110 &p114

20 Smith p209 21 The workers Revolution in Russia 1917 p112

22 Cliff p118 "It was this chaos that lead the Soviet government to abolish Workers control in industry."

23 The workers Revolution in Russia 1917 p110

24 Abramovitch p159 mentions workers attempting to find food as being shot as speculators.

25 The workers Revolution in Russia 1917 pp115-6

26 ibid

27 Burnham p192 28 Mandel p360

29 The workers Revolution in Russia 1917 p120

30 The workers Revolution in Russia 1917 p129

31 Mandel p375

32 Mandel p375

33 Mandel p402 for how Bolshevik activists stuck with their party.

34 Debo p60 35 Debo p107

36 Debo p110

37 Goldman

38 Voline pp243 -246 especially p245

39 The workers Revolution in Russia 1917 p117

40 Debo p169

41 Debo p168 42 Debo p172 and p182

43 Radkey p57

44 Abramovitch p143

45 Medvedev p138-9

46 Medvedev p141

47 Medvedev p142 also confirmed by Heller and Nekvich p60 but I suspect they may be using Medvedev as their source. Nove p62 describes how a temporary legalization of trade in September of 1918 resulted in a massive jump in the supply of grain but this was after the harvest.

48 On page 66 Medvedev describes Gotz as a Menshevik (perhaps in view of his actions in 1917 an understandable error!). On page 68 he says that Chernov tried to speak to the masses during the July days and though they refused to let him speak he was unmolested. Presumably the reason for this error is the central role of Trotsky in the incident of Chernov's 'arrest'. Incidents involving Trotsky tend to be edited out of accounts published in the USSR.

49 Nomenklatura p230 p214, Olga Chernov p154

50 Voslenski p231

51 Avrich p53

52 Heller and Nekvich p61

53 The workers Revolution in Russia 1917 p71 also Koenker p124

54 Smith p153 55 Schapiro p155

56 Radkey p275

57 Brovkin p41

58 Brovkin p47 for the provincial capitals: 19 out of 30 and all capitals for which we have data.

59 Brovkin p47

60 Brovkin The whole essay is a chronicle of opposition victories followed by repression but see p46 for summery comment.

61 Novaia Zhizn 1st May 1918 Reproduced in full in Vladimir Brovkin's "Dear Comrades"

62 Cliff p163

63 Cliff p167

64 Cliff p167 (perhaps this is nit picking but Novi Zhizn was not actually a Menshevik paper even though politically very close).

65 Carr p169 for banning of Novyi Luch a Menshevik paper in February 1918. Brovkin's article also mentions numerous harassments from banning of local papers to arrests of members.

66 Brovkin p44

67 Price pp 315-16 68 Cliff p170

69 Debo p170

70 Cliff p147

71 Cliff 172

72 Cliff 150

73 Brovkin p47

74 Steinberg pp81-83 75 Leggett pp53-54

76 Melgunov Red Terror p28

77 Shub p348

78 Leggett 51