The Bolsheviks in Power

The Bolsheviks in Power

The First Year of Soviet Rule in Petrograd
Rabinowitch, Alexander
Distribution: World
Publication date: 08/08/2008
Format: Paperback 25 b&w photos, 2 maps
ISBN: 978-0-253-22042-4
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Description

A major contribution to the historiography of the world in the 20th century, The Bolsheviks in Power focuses on the fateful first year of Soviet rule in Petrograd. It examines events that profoundly shaped the Soviet political system that endured through most of the 20th century. Drawing largely from previously inaccessible Soviet archives, it demolishes standard interpretations of the origins of Soviet authoritarianism by demonstrating that the Soviet system evolved ad hoc as the Bolsheviks struggled to retain political power amid spiraling political, social, economic, and military crises. The book covers issues such as the rapid fall of influential moderate Bolsheviks, the formation of the dreaded Cheka, the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly, the Red Terror, the national government's flight to Moscow, and the subsequent rivalry between Russia's new and old capitals.

Author Bio

Alexander Rabinowitch is Professor Emeritus of History at Indiana University, Bloomington. He is author of Prelude to Revolution: The Petrograd Bolsheviks and the July 1917 Uprising (IUP, 1968) and The Bolsheviks Come to Power: The Revolution of 1917 in Petrograd. He lives in Bloomington, Indiana.

Reviews

Rabinowitch demonstrates total mastery of the rich source material; a stunning command of politics during a time of crisis, turmoil, and shifting allegiances; confident, crystal-clear prose; originality; and profound appreciation of the circumstances in which his protagonists found themselves. . . . His new study addresses a central question of twentieth-century Russian history: what happened to the promises of 1917? Maintaining that his earlier efforts raised as many questions as they answered, he seeks to understand how the relatively democratic and decentralized Bolshevik party became transformed into 'one of the most highly centralized, authoritarian political organizations in modern history.'Rabinowitch has culled an astonishing amount of new information from long closed archives . . . a compelling narrative accessible to specialists and general readers alike.What did Lenin's Bolsheviks do with the power they so boldly seized in October 1917? Alexander Rabinowitch is the first scholar to trace in detail, using newly available archives, the gripping story of the first year of Soviet rule in Russia. Concentrating on events in and around Petrograd, he explains why the Bolshevik government became more dictatorial, and even terroristic, as it struggled to control an increasingly impoverished and disaffected populace. . . . Written in an engaging style, The Bolsheviks in Power is a 'must read' for anyone interested in revolutionary change.Rabinowitch demonstrates total mastery of the rich source material; a stunning command of politics during a time of crisis, turmoil, and shifting allegiances; confident, crystal—clear prose; originality; and profound appreciation of the circumstances in which his protagonists found themselves. . . . His new study addresses a central question of twentieth-century Russian history: what happened to the promises of 1917? Maintaining that his earlier efforts raised as many questions as they answered, he seeks to understand how the relatively democratic and decentralized Bolshevik party became transformed into 'one of the most highly centralized, authoritarian political organizations in modern history.'Rabinowitch has culled an astonishing amount of new information from long closed archives . . . a compelling narrative accessible to specialists and general readers alike.This masterful volume fills one of the most glaring holes in the historiography of the revolution and twentieth-century Russian history. The archival research is truly impressive and will lend solid weight to the story Rabinowitch tells and the important revisions, modifications, and clarifications he makes in establishing the history of this extremely important period.

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Table of Contents

Abbreviations
Preface
Prologue: The Bolsheviks and the October Revolution in Petrograd
Part I: The Defeat of the Moderates
Chapter 1 Forming a Government
Chapter 2 Rebels into Rulers
Chapter 3 Gathering Forces
Chapter 4 The Fate of the Constituent Assembly
Part II: War or Peace
Chapter 5 Fighting Lenin
Chapter 6 "The Socialist Fatherland Is in Danger"
Chapter 7 An Obscene Peace
Part III: Soviet Power on the Brink
Chapter 8 A Turbulent Spring
Chapter 9 Continuing Crises
Chapter 10 The Northern Commune and the Bolshevik-Left SR Alliance
Chapter 11 The Suicide of the Left SRs
Part IV: Celebration amid Terror
Chapter 12 The Road to "Red Terror"
Chapter 13 The Red Terror in Petrograd
Chapter 14 Celebrating "the Greatest Event in the History of the World"
Chapter 15 Price of Survival
Chronology of Key Events
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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