Friday book # 45: Origins of the Russian Civil War

Civil wars begin in many ways, but one is when a radical minority seizes power by force and seeks to impose its agenda on a largely unwilling population. Most people aren’t interested in politics and just want to get on with their lives. But in such circumstances, some will be found who decide to fight back. So it was in Russia between 1917 and 1921. In this week’s book, Geoffrey Swain puts the blame for the Russian Civil War firmly on the shoulders of Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin. As Swain says:

The Russian Civil War was an unnecessary war. It was a war brought about by Lenin when he wrecked the Railway Workers’ Union talks on 4 November 1917.  … [He] realized that in the absence of an international civil war he would have to impose his views through a civil war in Russia, and could do so by relying on the greed of the German imperialists.

That seems a fair conclusion to me, but no doubt the Leninist sympathizers among my readers will disagree.

swain

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Friday book # 45: Origins of the Russian Civil War”

  1. “That seems a fair conclusion to me, but no doubt the Leninist sympathizers among my readers will disagree.”

    “Russophobia 101” library sees no end.

    Wow. “Leninist sympathizers”, no less! “Sympathizer” usually is used to describe someone from your “side” expressing clearly treasonous, subversive sympathy to the Enemy. Such fifth coulumnists, no doubt, must be suppressed and eradicated in the name of Something!

    As for the idea that it was Lenin of all people who started the Civil War (idea, which you, professor, furiously handhsake) is totally in leu of anti-Soviet propaganda. Indeed – let’s ignore Czechoslovakian revolt or the fact, that the October Revolution was virtually bloodless (especially when compared to the bloodbath of the February Revolution), or that the Soviet Power established itself from Petrograd to Vladivostok in the matter of days – so much for the “radical minority” imposing its agenda on a “largely unwilling population”.

    Of course any handshakable person would like the Reds squashed, and the glorious Whites ascendant! They’d bring back Russia That We Have Lost ™, with its balls, beuties, lackeys, officers and Shubert’s valtzes, and French bread’s crunch…

    Should I start begging forgiveness for this unfulfilled Dream of the All Progressive Humanity (i.e. – the West), me, Sovok born and bread? Should I beg forgiveness for the fact, that Russia didn’t share the fate of the interwar China or of any of the South American banana republics?

    Like

  2. [He] realized that in the absence of an international civil war he would have to impose his views through a civil war in Russia, and could do so by relying on the greed of the German imperialists.

    This is one extremely weird statement. What the hell does it even mean?

    Also, singling out this “Railway Workers’ Union talks on 4 November 1917” as some supposedly essential turning point seems even weirder. Why not, for example, the closure of the Constituent Assembly in January 1918?

    It seems to me, Lenin acted exactly as prescribed by the classics: dictatorship of the proletariat, no more no less… The civil war followed, and it wasn’t exactly unforeseen either… So what’s exactly the issue here, and what does any of this have to do with “the greed of the German imperialists”?

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s