(POLITICAL PRIMER.CHAPTER VIII)
From February to October 1917.
The October social revolution is preceded by the February revolution. In order to better understand the eight-month period before the October Revolution, let us analyze the class groupings of Russian society before February 1917. The ruling class under Nicholas II was the class of nobles, who cultivated small farmers and robbed them. The "Union of the Russian People '' - the party of the Black Hundreds [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Hundreds] - was the party of the big landlords . Part of the industrial bourgeoisie was in power and was closely related to the nobility. Technically, the progressive bourgeoisie was the opposition of His Majesty and impotently dreamed of a constitutional-parliamentary monarchy. The peasantry was tormented by the lack of land and was completely suppressed by the nobility. Among the nobility, a part began to stand out, which began to conduct large-scale agriculture. The feudal slaughterhouse gave way to the capitalist system. And instead of the overweight figure of Markov II [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikolai_Yevgenyevich_Markov], a landowner like "Prince Lvov" [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgy_Lvov], perfumed and wearing white gloves, was moving more and more onto the stage. In the field of industry, finance capital began to take shape, the imperialist bourgeoisie, headed by Milyukov-”Dardanellsky” [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pavel_Milyukov] , came forward, who wanted to take Constantinople and the straits leading from the Black to the Mediterranean Sea. According to the indicated social groupings, we also see the new parties of the Octobrists [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_of_October_17] and the Kadets [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitutional_Democratic_Party] (from “Constitutional Democratic Party '', Konstitutsionno-demokraticheskaya partiya, K-D). The peasantry corresponded to the parties of popular socialists and socialist revolutionaries.
Before the war of 1914, the proletarian movement began to reach the level of 1905, but the war temporarily strangled this movement: the peasants and workers were thrown into the trenches to learn. Although Milyukov and Purishkevich [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vladimir_Purishkevich] (a constitutional democrat and a member of the Black Hundreds) kissed at the beginning of the war, out of fear of the enemy, the big landlords, the ruling bureaucracy and the court conducted the matter in such a way that the hearts of the imperialists (Milyukov and others) bled. The opposition of this part of the bourgeoisie grew more and more. At the same time, the proletariat was driven to despair by executions, the abolition of factory laws, high prices and hunger. "Peace, bread and freedom!" - was heard in the cities.
The broad masses of the peasantry, also suffering severely from the war, joined the workers: “Peace, land, freedom!” the village asked and demanded in a strangled voice. The exhausted army was more and more agitated, it ardently desired peace.
Thus, the throne could have hardly held out under the pressure of the workers, peasants, and the army, and when the tsar tried to dissolve the Duma he had convened, even this Duma did not obey. The revolution began, and on March 2, Nicholas II signed the abdication.
The history of the revolution from February to October 1917 is the history of the struggle of the working class for power. Following the fall of the autocracy, the imperialist bourgeoisie, as a more organized part of society, put forward its own organ of power - the Provisional Committee of the State Duma. In words, they hoisted the red flag of the revolution, but in reality they wanted to reduce the whole revolution to a palace coup and proclaim the heir Alexei the tsar, and Prince Mikhail the regent.
The Socialist-Revolutionaries and Mensheviks, thinking that the revolution could only be bourgeois, were afraid to take power and refused it.
At the same time as the Committee of the State Duma, the Soviet of Workers' Deputies was formed, which was later joined by the Soviet of Soldiers' Deputies. Thus two centers were formed; the bourgeoisie grouped around the first, the workers and peasants grouped around the second. The indecisive social compromise leaders gave power to the bourgeoisie, and this first provisional government was in favor of war until the victory over the Germans, in order to seize new territories and new profits. With the fall of the autocracy, all laws restricting freedoms collapsed, and a period of unlimited freedoms for the bourgeoisie began in Russia; everyone was waiting for the elections to the constituent assembly.
The Bolsheviks were against the transfer of power to the first provisional government: they said that nothing good could be expected from the bourgeoisie and its leaders, Milyukov and Rodzianko[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikhail_Rodzianko], and campaigned for the power of the Soviets. The Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries, by approving the entry of Kerensky [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Kerensky] into the government, showed by this that they were marching along with the bourgeoisie. Members of the provisional government sent all their forces to keep the army in the trenches and continue the war. While the St. Petersburg Soviet of Workers' Deputies appealed to the workers of the whole world with an appeal to stop the war and conclude peace without annexations and indemnities, the provisional government apparently confirmed this appeal, but in fact, following this, Minister Milyukov sent a note in which he indicated that Russia remains true to all her former obligations, that is, that she is for a war to a victorious end. The working masses learned about this note, and their indignation was violently expressed in demonstrations against the provisional government.
The protest was so violent that the bourgeoisie yielded, and a second provisional government was formed, although even then General Kornilov was ready to shoot the demonstrators. The second government also included socialists: Kerensky, Chernov [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viktor_Chernov], Tsereteli [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irakli_Tsereteli], Skobelev[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matvey_Skobelev] and others. It is clear that even the second government could not solve the task set for it, because the bourgeoisie could never agree to an 8-hour working day and to an end to the war. Shortly after the formation of the second government. In June, the first Congress of Soviets took place. There were 100 Bolsheviks at this congress, all the delegates were over 1,000.
At this congress the Mensheviks and the Socialist-Revolutionaries fought the Bolsheviks. The Bolsheviks demanded an immediate end to the war and the publication of secret documents on the treaties of the tsarist government; the Mensheviks and the Socialist-Revolutionaries, however, were against this, and by this proved their entry into an alliance with the predators of imperialism. They used every effort to force the army to go on the offensive, but the soldiers, remaining in the trenches, flatly refused to go forward. That all the masses of workers and soldiers wanted what the Bolsheviks were talking about was shown by the demonstration on June 18: the workers and soldiers demanded the end of the war, the expulsion of 10 bourgeois ministers from the government and the transfer of all power to the Soviets.
On the same day, Kerensky, who was rushing along the front in a storm, managed to provoke an unsuccessful offensive, and on June 19 the bourgeoisie staged their own demonstration with portraits of Kerensky and tricolor banners.
The bourgeoisie hindered Chernov's land reform, delayed the elections to the Constituent Assembly and dreamed of how to stop the revolution by blowing up the power of the second government. At the beginning of July, representatives of the bourgeoisie, finding fault with an insignificant pretext, withdrew from the government, hoping thereby to thwart the revolution. The indignant workers went out with soldiers to an armed demonstration with slogans: "Down with the bourgeoisie" and "all power to the Soviets." The Provisional Government summoned troops loyal to it to Petrograd. The persecution of the Bolsheviks began: their newspapers were closed, their organizations were crushed. At the same moment, the Germans launched an offensive, and the Russian army began to retreat rapidly. The Provisional Government introduced the death penalty at the front. Trotsky, Lunacharsky and others were imprisoned, an order was issued to arrest Lenin and Zinoviev, on the basis of the malicious provocative lie of the "socialist" Aleksinsky [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grigory_Aleksinsky] that Lenin was a spy for the German government. The bourgeoisie triumphed. A third provisional government was formed, consisting of 4 ministers from the bourgeoisie and 4 from the socialists.
In August, at the Moscow meeting, the bourgeoisie demanded the removal from the government of two ministers, Avksentiev[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikolai_Avksentiev] and Chernov, the restoration of the power of the generals at the front, and the inviolability of private property in land. This meeting came to nothing. Then the bourgeoisie put forward General Kornilov [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lavr_Kornilov] against Kerensky. Kornilov moved to pacify Petrograd. The revolution hung in the balance, but the workers of Petrograd, as one, came to its defense. Kornilov's soldiers refused to fight, and the revolution was saved.
After that, the power of the Soviets again increased. The proletariat demanded the removal of the Cadets, as counter-revolutionaries, from the government. In order to somehow get out of the situation that had arisen, the Social Compromisers convened the so-called Democratic Conference in Petrograd in September. It would seem that after the Kornilov events, it would have been much easier to convene a congress of Soviets; but the Social Compromisers were afraid of this congress, for it would have given the Bolsheviks the upper hand.
Nothing came of the Democratic Conference. Despite the fact that the Social Compromisers kept putting off the convocation of the Congress of Soviets, the Bolsheviks managed to convene this congress for October 25, which decreed Soviet power.