Edexcel A level History option 2C.2 Russia in Revolution 1894-1924 Unit 3

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  • Created on: 15-06-18 11:22

Unit 3- The Provisional Government and its Opponents

Is “Dual Power” an Apt Description of the Relationship Between the Provisional Government and the Petrograd Soviet in Early 1917?

·         The downfall of Nicholas II was welcomed by the majority in Russia- in the weeks after his abdication the mood lifted considerably.

·         The Provisional Government took office in early March 1917. All of its leaders were middle class liberals, and its chief minister was Prince Lvov. Kerensky was a lawyer who had been elected to the fourth Duma, and after the February revolution he became the vice-chairman of the Petrograd soviet. He was the only minister in the Provisional Government who was also a member of the Petrograd Soviet.

·         In March 1917, the Provisional Government was in authority, but it had no means of compelling people to obey its orders and so they were reliant on the power of the Petrograd Soviet.

·         The Soviet was in full control of the capital because it was supported by workers and the city’s army garrison. The loyalty of postal and railway workers to the Soviet ensured that it had control over the city’s links with the outside world, and the backing of the army gave them the capacity to supress opposition in the capital as well as protection against intervention from outside it. They were quick to insist that they had a duty to defend the capital so as not to be sent to the battlefront of the war.

·         By October 1917 approximately 1500 soviets had formed, representing a wide variety of groups.

·         The Petrograd Soviet was elected by the city’s factory workers and soldiers. There was one representative for each battalion of soldiers (25 men), and one for every 1000 workers. This meant that two thirds of the Soviet’s members were soldier’s representatives even tough there were more workers than soldiers.

·         Elections were informal; representatives did not serve for fixed terms but could be recalled and replaced at any time, and therefore the Soviet’s political composition was constantly changing.

·         The policies of the Soviet were decided by its executive committee, which was made up of political activists and professional revolutionaries. It was initially dominated by Mensheviks and SRs. The socialist intellectuals who led the Soviet in the early days saw its role to be both temporary and limited, protecting the interests of workers and soldiers until the deliberations of the constituent assembly led to the establishment of a fully democratic system of government. They monitored the activities of the Provisional Government, and soon began to adopt a more wide-ranging role; it assumed control of the army in Petrograd and gained an interest in foreign policy.

·         In late February 1917 the Duma politicians and the Petrograd Soviet came to an agreement on an interim form of government for Russia, and a package of political reforms that were to take place immediately. It introduced policies of the abolition


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