Russian Revolution

Essay by Jay HartCollege, UndergraduateA+, January 1996

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The real revolution in Russia did not culminate in 1917 with the establishment of the Soviet state that became known as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). It came under the rule of Joseph Stalin in the late 1920's and 1930's. The two successful revolutions of 1917 are referred to by many as the Russian Revolution. The first revolution overthrew the autocratic imperial monarchy. It began with a revolt on February 23 to 27, 1917, according to the calendar then in use in Russia. The second revolution, which opened with the armed insurrection of October 24 and 25, Organized by the Bolshevik party against the provisional government, effected a change in all economic, political, and social relationships in Russian Society. When looking at the Russian Revolution it is easy to notice that it was not undertaken in one giant leap, but in little steps that were led by Joseph Stalin.

During the period before the October Revolution, Stalin was not, as he later claimed, Lenin's right-hand man. He played an important, but not vital, role in the revolution. Lenin worked most closely with Leon Trotsky in the Bolshevik takeover of the government. After Stalin became dictator of the Soviet Union, he had history books rewritten to say that he had led the revolution with Lenin.

Lenin became head of the new government after the revolution, and named Stalin commissar of nationalities. Within a few months, opposition to the new government developed in many parts of the country. Armed uprisings broke out and grew into a civil war. Stalin was active on the southern military front. In Stalin's version of history, he repeatedly corrected the mistakes of others. Stalin took credit for a victory at Tsaritsyn, the city later named Stalingrad. Actually, Stalin's military role there was exaggerated...