Blumenfeld, Callie


The October Revolution, commonly referred to as Red October, was an influential seizure of power during the greater Russian Revolution in 1917. The main focus of the revolution was an armed insurrection that occurred in Pertrograd. Revolutionary sentiments were felt throughout greater Russia as the provisional government continued to wage World War I, which was heavily unpopular. Disorder within the industry and transport of materials was intensifying, therefore obstructing the citizens from obtaining necessary goods and provisions. Gross industrial production had declined immensely in 1917, and over half of the enterprises within the country had closed down. Petrograd workers staged strikes in September of this year, leading to the culmination of sentiments of unrest and the start of the October Revolution.

A provisional government was in place prior to the revolution, composed of nobles and aristocrats. As production declined, workers began to organize into groups and criticize the work and actions of the provisional government in Russia. In October 1917, the revolution in Petrograd deposed the provisional government and granted authority to local soviets. These soviets markedly supported the Bolshevik party, and this support led to the inauguration of the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic, the world’s first ever socialist state.

Previous ideologies and political formations in Russia, specifically in Petrograd, involved a parliamentarian political structure and ideologies greatly centered around such a regime. Following the revolution was inherent social change both in the political and the ideological structure. With the eradication of the provisional government and the implementation of the socialist Bolsheviks, the Russian political ideals were now extremely communist centered. This inception of the first communist government in Russia was logically followed by the breaking of old ways of thinking and the introduction of a new ideological structure. Marxism was prominent, and the communist revolutionary, Vladimir Lenin, immediately focused on not antagonizing the peasantry by allowing peasants to take over noble’s estates. His ideas were based upon the Marxist ideas that the working classes would eventually free themselves from the political control of the ruling classes. The main focus of this new ideology, termed Marxism-Leninism later in history, was the idea of ‘socialism in one country.’ The new ideology retained the goal of developing a nation into a socialist state through the leadership of trained revolutionaries comprised of working class citizens who have come to idolize social ideas through class struggle. In this method of thought, the socialist state is primarily governed by these working class peoples through the process of democratic centralism. This new ideology stated that the communist party is the supreme political institution of the state and is the sole authority of social formation. These ideals went against the previous institutions in Russia involving nobility and hierarchy.

The October Revolution in Russia and specifically in Petrograd allowed for the removal of the parliamentarian government and the application of a socialist leadership. The breakdown of old ideologies developed from this substitution, and the resulting Marxist ways of thought enhanced the ability of the new communist regime to rule. The interrelations of the Marxist ideologies and the socialist ruling methods brought about by the October Revolution of 1917 allowed for Russia to initiate its first communist government and thus become the first large scale socialist state in the history of the world.

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