The View from Petrograd: November to December 1917

  • Robert Service


The ‘October Revolution’ was not a single act which titanically prescribed the entire political process for the rest of the country. Russia and its subject regions in 1917 experienced myriads of further revolutions after the fall of the Romanov dynasty, in cities, in the armed forces, and in the villages. Some preceded, others followed the Military-Revolutionary Committee’s seizure of power in Petrograd. Some of these felt the initial impact of events in the capital more than did others; and, indeed, some of them also influenced the Petrograd uprising itself. Consequently, the Bolshevik Central Committee, with much skill and not a little luck, linked its political revolution in Petrograd to the revolutions elsewhere. There was a parallelism of intent: the various revolutions shared an antipathy to the policies of the Provisional Government and a belief that a radical alternative should be sought. Yet the Bolshevik Central Committee appreciated that, in the disintegrated and localised condition of politics at the time, the Petrograd seizure remained as yet a local revolution. Obviously, it was the crucial local revolution; but its impact had yet to be realised. ‘Soviet power’ under the Bolshevik aegis had to be disseminated across the country. This undertaking would put the strategy of Lenin to its greatest test. The parallel movement of the myriads of anti-Kerenski revolutions would inevitably be disrupted by an involuted and multilateral geometry of antagonisms among the classes and groups whose original commonalty of purpose had been the campaign to overturn the policies of the Provisional Government.


Political Life Central Committee Socialist Revolution Soviet Government October Revolution 
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Copyright information

© Robert Service 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Service
    • 1
  1. 1.LondonUK

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