The Russian Revolution: A Beginner's Guide (Beginner's Guides)

The Russian Revolution: A Beginner's Guide (Beginner's Guides)

Abraham Ascher

Language: English

Pages: 218

ISBN: 1780743874

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


1917: the year a series of rebellions toppled three centuries of autocratic rule and placed a group of political radicals in charge of a world power. Here, suddenly, was the first modern socialist state, “a kingdom more bright that any heaven had to offer”. But the dream was short-lived, bringing in its wake seventy years of conflict and instability that nearly ended in nuclear war.

How could such a revolution take place and what caused it to go so very wrong? Presenting a uniquely long view of events, Abraham Ascher takes readers from the seeds of revolution in the 1880s right through to Stalin’s state terror and the power of the communist legacy in Russia today. Original and shrewd, Ascher’s analysis offers an unparalled introduction to this watershed period in world history

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withstand the onslaughts of the army. When it was over, 1,059 Muscovites, most of whom were civilians not involved in the fighting, had been killed. Of these, 137 were women and 86 were children. Twenty-five policemen and nine soldiers lost their lives. This was only the beginning of the carnage in Moscow, for the authorities unleashed a crackdown. There followed numerous executions—without any judicial proceedings—of workers and students, on the mere suspicion of their having taken part in the

that we live through strengthens our faith in the inexhaustible power of the Russian people, its political wisdom, the greatness of its soul.’ It was widely believed that Miliukov, the most powerful person in the Kadet Party, had pressed Lvov’s candidacy for Prime Minister because he knew the prince would be a figurehead and that he—Miliukov—would become the ‘power behind the throne.’ Miliukov assumed the critical position of Foreign Minister and after considerable wrangling between the liberals

social group in the country—would be examined immediately, but the final solution of that problem was to be left to the assembly. The government promised to take some measures before then to improve conditions of the poorer peasants. It was a promising beginning, but it soon became clear that the road to democracy would not be smooth. The Petrograd soviet, which could count on popular support, quickly became a powerful voice of the Left, and its influence grew dramatically once the leaders of

industrial state of major proportions and an impressive military power within the short period of ten years. These achievements proved to be of critical importance when Nazi Germany launched its invasion of the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, to be met by resistance so fierce that not only the Germans but also the rest of the world were surprised. That resistance was all the more surprising because the first response to the invasion seemed to signal a quick and total collapse by the Russians,

decline in longevity between 1959 and 1979, from 69.3 years to 67.7 years. Many people in the Soviet Union concluded that the country’s economic system was on the wrong track. Western economists—and in time a growing number of Soviet economists—attributed these dismal statistics to the rigid controls from above, the absence of adequate incentives for hard work, and the prevalence of corruption at every level of society. It was now also beyond doubt that the economic and social egalitarianism

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