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Russia: Hail the Good Revolution
The Bolsheviks were liars.
They later became masters at 'reinventing' history, but the glorious October Revolution was the Bolsheviks' first grand re-invention.
It wasn't the Bolsheviks that swept away the Czar in a heroic seizure of power; they came to power instead in a squalid little coup that stabbed in the back Russia's first chance at real freedom. Remember all those stories and images of people rampaging across Palace Square and storming the Winter Palace? That wasn't the Bolshevik hordes storming the citadel of Czarist oppression—that is a lie. There were no hordes; there was no storming of the Palace—not by the Bolsheviks anyway; and the Czarist oppression had already been swept away some months before in the 'Good Revolution' of February. The Bolsheviks didn't sweep away oppression; they brought it back.
The oppressive Czarist regime had been swept away in a largely bloodless revolution in Spring 1917. The so called 'February Revolution' deposed the authoritarian ancien regime, put in place a democratic Parliament (Duma) under Alexander Kerensky, and sent a breath of free Spring air through Russia's stale and oppressive ordure. By contrast, the Bolshevik Coup (which is what it was) took place in October 1917, just as the country was heading for Winter; the seasonal metaphor could not be more precise: where the February Revolution was a brief taste of the freedom of Spring, the October Revolution brought on an oppressive, marrow-chilling Winter that lasted nearly three-quarters-of-a-century.
The Bolsheviks were pissweak.
The Bolsheviks relied on others to do their work for them. If there was ever a time when one muck-stained tail wagged several dogs, this was it.
The Bolsheviks used the February Revolutionists: They didn't just use their Revolution of February to provide phoney myths about the Coup of October; without the Good Revolution of February the Cowardly Coup of October could never have seized the reins of power. The February Revolutionists took the risks and did the donkey work of ending the Czarist oppression; when the time was ripe the Bolsheviks then stabbed them in the back by seizing power in a messy little coup.
The Bolsheviks used the Germans: 1917 was the third year of World War I, and conditions on the Russian Front were as bad as legend remembers them. Seeking some advantage from the Czar's overthrow in February, in April the Germans sent Swiss-based cafe-dweller Vladimir Lenin back to Russia through Germany in a sealed carriage—"sealed in like a bacillus," as one astute writer put it. The Germans got their advantage—once Lenin had others seize power for him, he gave the Germans all they had wanted: Complete and abject surrender. The brave Bolshevik capitulation sold out the Baltic States, sold out those Russians who had died defending their country, and left the Germans free to throw their resources being used on the Eastern Front into the meat-grinder of the Western Front, extending the carnage there for nearly another year.
The Bolsheviks used democracy against itself: A small Bolshevik-dominated Petrograd Soviet (i.e., Workers Council) wagged the national Union of Soviets (essentially a national Federation of Labour); by a series of calculated moves, the smaller Bolsheviks simply made themselves the mouth and the brains of the larger national body of Soviets. As the Workers Councils disrupted the country and made it impossible to govern, a Bolshevik minority coalesced with a larger rump to disrupt the democratic Duma, in an attempt to make the Soviet the greater seat of power. Come the October Coup, the Bolsheviks simply dissolved the Duma, called the Petrograd Soviet the centre of power, and let democracy go hang.
The Bolsheviks used the workers: The Workers Soviets were the platform for their grab for power. Once power was obtained, the workers and their organisations were of no more interest to the Bolsheviks than were the twenty million or so who died in just a few short years after the Bolsheviks seized power, or the several million Ukranian Kulaks left to starve in Stalin's famine. The 1921 Kronstadt Rebellion and accompanying general strike was the last of the attempts by workers to gain back some of their own freedom: like all the other attempts, it ended in bloodshed. The Bolsheviks didn't want to free the workers; they wanted to enslave them.
The Bolsheviks were murderers.
The killing started with the Cheka, set up by Lenin immediately on assuming power (it later became the GPU, then the NKVD, and eventually the KGB). When the killing ended nearly three-quarters-of-a-century later, 62 million Russians had been murdered, and several million more around the world had had their lives cut short or made into a living hell by the bloodstained influence of the Soviet regime. And that's just the murders—that doesn't count all those who died in epidemics, famine, fighting and the general breakdown—like those 20 million who died in just a few years after the October Coup.
The Soviet Union did not begin in an heroic act of revolution. It began just the way it was to continue: in cowardice, in destruction, in dishonesty and in death.
The Bolsheviks were pissweak murdering liars. About the October Revolution, there is nothing—not one single thing—to celebrate.
*The October Revolution didn't even happen in October: it happened on November 7, 1917. The date that's now remembered and commemorated is the one from the Julian Calendar then being used in Russia, rather than the Gregorian Calendar used in the rest of the world.
NB: As you probably know, the young Ayn Rand lived through this year of hell in Petrograd. You can see here some of the scenes she might have seen in Petrograd that fateful year.
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