National Sections of the L5I:

Russia

When women set Russia ablaze

The specific role of women workers in the February revolution occurred because of the very acute way the war had affected them. The mobilisation of soldiers and production for the war effort led to enormous deprivation in the cities and villages of Russia. As early as April 1915 there were riots by women demanding bread, and these continued sporadically right through to 1917. Read more...

Parliament: Bolsheviks in the Duma

How should revolutionary socialists act in parliament? Should we risk legitimising powerless legislative bodies? And how do we stop the workers’ MPs from being corrupted in the bosses’ parliaments? These were some of the problems faced by the Bolsheviks before the First World War. Read more...

The April theses: Lenin re-arms the party

The explosion of anger that swept aside the Tsarist regime in February 1917 led to a profoundly contradictory situation at the level of state power. Conservative and liberal politicians declared themselves the Provisional Government, although they had not participated in, let alone led, the uprising. They were deeply fearful of where the mass mobilisations and the workers’ and soldiers’ councils – the soviets that mushroomed – would lead. The revolution had given the soviets power. Now it had to be stopped. Read more...

The July Days

In the spring and early summer of 1917, it became more and more clear that the Provisional Government would not address any of Russia’s crying needs. The war-weary soldiers’ yearning for peace, the cry for bread from the workers of the cities, the peasants’ calls for the aristocrats land to be distributed to them – all were met with delay and diversion. The government made the continuation of the war its overriding priority. A government of the imperialist bourgeoisie, mortgaged to Anglo-French imperialism and with its own designs on the Turkish Empire and Eastern Europe, could not seriously contemplate a separate peace. Read more...

Russia: Putin launches vicious crackdown on dissent

Protests by the anti-Putin coalition ‘Other Russia’ have met with harsh state repression. The government itself, now in total control of the mass media, continues to hold approval ratings of some 80% - despite the terrible poverty of the working class. These are truly dark days in Russia. However, in the last year the working class has formed new independent trade unions and is beginning to fightback. In this article, Natalie Sedley and Luke Cooper argue that only the working class – fighting on the political and economic terrain – can lead the Russian masses to a brighter future. The ‘Other Russia’, an unholy alliance of the rich oligarchy, free marketers, leftists and even the fascist “National Bolsheviks” offers no solution. Read more...

February 1917: The Tsar falls

In 1917 Russia still used the old Julian calendar and so was 13 days behind most other countries which used the Gregorian calendar we use today. That is why the great events which are called the February Revolution took place between 8-15 March in our calendar. Under the old-style Russian Calendar 23 February to 1 March. But Russia was not simply 13 days behind central and Western Europe. In terms of its political regime it was any thing from fifty to a hundred years behind. Read more...

1905: The first Russian revolution

The Russian Revolution of 1905 was a titanic event that shaped the 20th century and the history of the working class movement.

Though defeated, the 1905 ’Dress Rehearsal’ was rich in lessons that fed into the strategy and tactics of the Bolshevik Party, leading directly to the successful seizure of power by the Soviets in 1917 and the establishment of the world’s first workers’ republic. Read more...

How the Russian revolution was won

Many myths surround the Russian revolution, the one most often told is that it was an undemocratic coup by a dictator-in-waiting called Lenin. This article dispels some of these myths and explains the mass character of the revolutionary movement amongst the workers and peasants. Importantly it outlines some of the lessons for revolutionaries today that fight for the victory of the working class over the bosses.\nOn 25 October 1917 the Second All Russian Congress of Soviets voted to take power and established the world’s first soviet republic. Read more...

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