Wednesday, August 25, 2010

This is what I be doing.

Discussion Question for my Russian history class.

Why did the Bolsheviks win in 1917? You should discuss positive features about the Bolsheviks, as well as negative features about their opponents. Which of the many different positive and negative factors seem to you to be the most important?

My answer.

It seems to me that two major factors in the Bolshevik win were the peasant revolution and the unstoppable force that was Lenin.

Back in chapter one Suny said that ". . . this mass of people by its very size and importance in the economy of Russia was quite powerful" (p.8). Later on he says that the peasants were extremely unwilling to adopt new ways and were distrustful of capitalism (pp.12&13). Lenin's uncompromising stance against any negotiation with the government most peasants were coming to distrust and associate with the bourgeoisie meant that the peasantry supported the Bolsheviks. And as Suny had indicated that was a powerful force to be reckoned with.

Lenin's personality and drive also, I believe, helped the Bolsheviks win the day. The other parties seemed to have no one willing to take power, to do whatever was necessary to squash opposition. They seemed to be caught in the dangerous position of trying to please both sides; and of course no one was very happy. Lenin knew exactly what he wanted and refused to try and toe a middle ground.

Coming from a capitalist system I don't agree with the Bolshevik platform, but I do admire their tenacity, drive, and singlemindedness. It seems as though they truly believed in the rightness of their stance. And that carried the day.

This is my online course, which I'm a bit nervous about because I can't rapid-fire questions at the teacher as I think of them:) It is fun, though, to be able to see what everyone else is thinking about the subject matter. You just don't get that when you're in a big classroom.

And this discussion question was based off of our textbook-"The Soviet Experiment" by Ronald Grigor Suny. I was answering the question based on my readings so far in that textbook-I know my answer is not comprehensive and that the Bolshevik party and Lenin did some horrendous things. We haven't gotten that far yet so I couldn't include that.

Hopefully this is the kind of answer the professor wanted.

And obviously I can't post anyone else's take on the question. Privacy rights and so on:)


scott said...

Communism itself is inherently flawed, but a lot of Russians were better off under Communism than they were under the Czar. Under the Czar most Russians made a subsistence living, if they were lucky, and they were being slaughtered in droves in the trenches of WWI. The Communists took Russia from a primitive feudal society to a modern industrialized nation in a few years. There was a heavy price to pay for sure, especially when Stalin took over, but life under the Czar wasn't good either.

Wulfa said...

Right on-that's pretty much what I've gathered from my readings thus far. It's hard to see it that way from our point of view-we tend to look backwards-but Communism was a step up for many people in Russia.