“Lenin was the critical factor in the Bolshevik consolidation of power”
To what extent is this statement an accurate reflection of the Bolshevik consolidation of power 1917 to 1924?
Vladimir Lenin was a highly critical factor within the Bolshevik consolidation of power; therefore, the statement is an accurate reflection of the period 1917-1924. Though many other factors, such as the Leon Trotsky and the weaknesses/unpopularity of the Provisional Government played a significant role within the consolidation, it was Lenin’s strong leadership, ideology and pragmatism during this period that enabled the Bolsheviks to strengthen and maintain control. Lenin’s role within the consolidation is evident through his significant contributions to the October Revolution, his implementation of various socio-political reforms, his signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, his actions during the Civil War and War Communism, and his implementation of the New Economic Policy.
The presence of Lenin within the October Revolution was highly critical to the accumulation and consolidation of Bolshevik power. ‘Had Lenin not managed to come to Petrograd…the October Revolution would not have taken place. Lenin was the “engine driver of revolution”, orchestrating (with Trotsky) the Bolshevik takeover and seizure of power from the weaker Provisional Government, leaving himself as head of a new Bolshevik administration. As the October Revolution laid the groundwork for Bolshevik control - marking the inception of the first Russian communist government - it was a highly critical event, elevating Lenin’s role by emphasizing the significance of his ideology (Leninism) and pragmatism, which underpinned all Bolshevik action.
Lenin’s importance within the early periods of consolidation is evident through his key role implementing various social and political reforms. In order to maintain power, Lenin needed to convince Russia that the Bolsheviks were more capable than the Provisional Government, which “had no popular mandate and little popular support.” To do this, Lenin needed to deliver on his promises of “Peace. Bread. Land.” Lenin initiated a series of decrees, partly intended to please the population and slowly introduce them to communist society. These decrees focused on the liberation and elevation of the peasantry, as it was his belief that through the rise of the peasants to that of equal standing with the proletariat, they would develop a new class consciousness and seek to transition to socialism despite only recently achieving capitalism (through Permanent Revolution). These decrees and reforms included the land decree (re-distribution of land to the peasants), workers decrees (8-hour working days and worker-committee-owned factories), educational reforms (including free education), women’s rights, independence of Russian-occupied nationalities (such as the Baltic states), and the Peace Decree, which addressed one of the most imperative of Russia’s problems – It’s...