Initially, the Bolsheviks
in Russia hoped that, inspired by their bold seizure of power, the powerful working-class movements in Central and Western Europe would be encouraged to rise up in a similar manner.
Damningly, only 7-8 percent of union workers were party members-even the working class seemed less than enthusiastic about the Bolsheviks
It is unlikely that Nicholas would have been ousted, then later murdered by the Bolsheviks
, had he only kept his country out of the First World War.
came to power at a time of all-consuming crisis; by comparison, it is hard to imagine today's economically advanced countries reaching the brink of major revolution.
Lenin, on the other hand, was very keen on the radicalisation of a socialist movement in Italy, following the success of the Bolsheviks
The author, an American historian, has mustered an array of sources, besides her conversations with Shlyapnikov's three children: his reminiscences, diary entries, and correspondence with Bolsheviks
, including Lenin; trade-union records; notes from Workers' Opposition meetings; the diaries of Alexandra Kollontai, the woman with whom he had a romance (1911-1916); and party and state archives.
At Lenin's insistence, the Bolsheviks
had split off from the Social Democratic Labor Party in 1903 to form a party of professional revolutionaries devoted to the goal of socialist revolution.
Early on the Bolsheviks
controlled much of the territory around Murmansk and Archangel.
None of these were ever agreed on, thus leaving only the French strategy to isolate the Bolshevik
regime economically and politically (the Cordon Sanitaire) as the ultimate policy of the Allies concerning Russia.
Those who supported the theory that the Bolsheviks
had come to power as the result of a coup in October 1917 were challenged by social historians who revealed genuine popular support for the Bolshevik
slogans of putting an end to the world war, introducing a land reform, and implementing popular governance.
, Boyars and the Persistence of Tradition, Yale, New Haven, CT, 2013.
But this is also the story of the Soviet Union's early days, when it seemed highly implausible that a cabal of Bolsheviks
would rule the Russian empire for seventy-odd years.
Ironically, the ascendant force, the Bolsheviks
, adhered to an ideology intent on destruction of Imperial Russia but, in the end, actually reincarnated the Russian Empire under a new name.
She states that soviet democracy 'did not survive' the civil war yet it was eliminated before it started in May 1918 with the packing and disbanding of soviets by the Bolsheviks
when they lost popular support.
Speaking with young Russians at the Seliger youth camp in July 2013, President Putin raised the issue of Russia's role in WWI, and blamed the Bolsheviks
for how Russia left the war.