February Revolution brought the middle class to power.
The Duma set up a ‘provisional’ (temporary) 12-man executive led by
Kerensky. It tried to rule
Russia in a way which was not too revolutionary, which meant that it failed to
deal with the problems that faced it.
The first problem was the Petrograd Soviet, which had
built up a nation-wide network of Soviets which took their orders from it –
Order Number 1, for example, forbade soldiers and workers to obey the
provisional Government unless the Soviet agreed. This was a direct challenge to the authority of the
Provisional Government. However,
the Provisional Government did nothing to try to end the power of the Soviets.
The second problem facing the Provisional Government
was inflation and hunger, which got worse because the war didn’t end (and so
the people stayed angry). Again,
the Provisional Government failed to end the food shortages or inflation,
because it didn’t end the war.
third problem facing the Provisional Government were the peasants, who started
taking the nobles land (which caused anarchy in the countryside).
Again, the Provisional Government failed. It sent troops to take back the land, which made the
peasants very angry – with the government.
main problem facing the Provisional Government was the War.
The Provisional Government tried to continue the war. It attacked Austria
in June 1917, but after initial successes, the German moved in and the Russian
were defeated. Soldiers
deserted. There was a naval mutiny Again,
the Provisional Government failed to deal with the problem because it did not
end the war. As an attempt to
do something, it set up ‘death squads’ to execute deserters. However,
this made things worse – by October 1917, soldiers were deserting, going home,
killing the landlords, and taking land.
fifth problem facing the Provisional Government was the Bolsheviks.
In April, Lenin returned and published his ‘April Theses’ (‘Peace,
Bread, Land’; ‘all power to the Soviets’; state ownership of factories and
banks). In July, the
Bolsheviks tried to take over the government by rioting in the ‘July Days’.
Again, the Provisional Government failed to solve the problem.
After the July Days, the Provisional Government arrested the leaders, but
let the Bolshevik Party continue. Also,
the Provisional Government allowed freedom of speech and the press, and released
political prisoners, which HELPED the Bolsheviks.
final problem facing the Provisional Government was a right-wing/ pro-Tsar army
coup in August 1917 led by General Kornilov.
Again, the Provisional Government failed.
It had no control of the army and had to ask the Bolsheviks to help it.
This made the government seem weak AND made the Bolsheviks popular (they
took control of the Soviets).