Next on my shelf is a small book (84 pages) by Richard Pipes, entitled Three Whys of the Russian Revolution. The questions which Pipes asks are:
- Why did Tsarism fail?
- Why did the Bolsheviks triumph?
- Why did Stalin succeed Lenin?
Roughly speaking, his answers are as follows:
- The Tsarist state was weak and unable to cope with the strains of the First World War.
- The Bolsheviks didn’t triumph because they had majority support (they didn’t), but because they were more determined, more organized, and more ruthless than their opponents.
- Stalin’s ascent was inevitable. Rather than distorting Lenin’s legacy, Stalin carried it to its logical conclusion.