Who was the leader of a Military Revolutionary Committee?

Who was the leader of a Military Revolutionary Committee?


The myth of the French revolution was to understand it as the destruction of feudalism by the bourgeoisie. The myth of the Soviet revolution was to define it in terms of class struggle, as the conquest of political power by the working class of workers and peasants. The former began to be revised following Alfred Cobban’s controversial -and memorable- lecture in London when he took up his professorship in 1954; the bicentenary of the revolution, celebrated in 1989, proved that practically nothing remained of the original myth. The Soviet myth – essential to the legitimacy of the Soviet regime and to the ideology of the international communist movement – would prove to be more persistent. Not that there was a lack of alternative interpretations. There were practically from the very moment of the triumph of the Bolsheviks, but the particular ethos, at once proletarian and egalitarian, of the revolution, and the undoubted fascination it exercised on intellectuals and historians, worked against it.

Lenin and Stalin

THE CONTEXT A decomposing Army after the overthrow of the Tsar and the collapse of the Polish front in the face of the German offensive. That is what Lev Trotsky found when, with Lenin’s confidence, he assumed the position of maximum representative of the foreign policy of the recently installed government of the Soviets. The absolute disorganization of the troops mobilized during the Great War, the famine, an alarming vacuum of power and a looming civil war of uncertain duration and consequences made it advisable to act with urgency and a high degree of pragmatism, and in spite of being a newcomer to the Bolshevik theses Trotsky managed to impose his thesis of surrendering and giving in to Germany taking advantage of its need to reinforce its western front.

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Faced with the need to start from nothing, Trotsky addressed the military commissars on June 17, 1918 with the speech reproduced below to instruct them on the organization of the new Army they had to help form to defend the Revolution, starting with the defeat of the White Army commanded by the Mensheviks. An opponent that although it also based its strength on irregular troops counted at all times with the military support of the British Empire, France, the United States and the Japanese Empire.

Lenin’s death

He was the main Bolshevik leader of the October Revolution of 1917. Once in power, Lenin proceeded to implement various reforms that included the transfer to the State or to the Soviet workers of the control of properties and lands in the hands of the aristocracy, the former crown or landowners. Faced with the threat of invasion by the German Empire, he signed a peace treaty that led to Russia’s exit from the First World War. In 1921, Lenin’s government instituted the New Economic Policy, which combined socialist and capitalist elements and began the process of industrialization and recovery of the country after the Russian civil war, a harsh conflict that included the participation of fourteen foreign nations against the new Soviet state.

Although the death of his brother had an important influence on the development of his ideas,[15] there is no indication that, as has been suggested, already at this time his sympathies were directed towards Marxist revolutionaries. At first his ideas were strongly influenced by Nikolai Chernyshevsky, who with his novel What Is To Be Done? (1862) had created the model of the Russian revolutionary hero who lives only for his cause;[22][23] the novel and the character of the tough revolutionary Rakhmetov served as a model for a whole generation of Russian revolutionaries, such as Sergey Nechayev and the Russian populists of the People’s Will. [23] Only slowly, and especially after his arrival in St. Petersburg in 1893 and his contact with the work of Georgy Plekhanov, did he unreservedly adhere to Marxism, taking up its sociological analysis, although characteristically combined with the activism of the People’s Will: it was not necessary to wait for the “objective conditions” for revolution, they must also be provoked by political action. [24]

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What Lenin did

The Military Revolutionary Committee, also known as Milrevcom, Voenrevkov and VRK (Russian: Военнно-революционнный комитет, Bоенревком, ВРК) was the name of the military organs created by the Bolshevik Party organizations under the authority of the Soviets during the preparation and development of the armed insurrection in the October Revolution of 1917. They functioned until March 1918.[1] The committees were the leading body of power of the insurrection, installing and securing Soviet power. They executed a role of extraordinary provisional organs of the dictatorship of the proletariat.

The idea of organizing a center of operations of the armed insurrection belongs to Vladimir Lenin.[1] In his letter Marxism and the Insurrection, addressed to the Central Committee of the Russian Social-Democratic Workers’ Party (Bolshevik) in September 1917, he put on the agenda the task of preparing the armed uprising when he wrote:[1]

The first headquarters of the armed insurrection was the Petrograd Military Revolutionary Committee, which was created by the Petrograd Soviet and took power on November 7, 1917.[1] Before the triumph of the insurrection in Petrograd, there were more than forty Military Revolutionary Committees in the country, whose main activity was the military and technical preparation of the impending insurrection.