The events of February-March 1917. caused an explosion of long-restrained freedom. Millions of people were attached to politics. The soldiers demanded the establishment of human relations in the army, the peasants - the confiscation of landowners' lands. Political parties were given the opportunity to act legally. In just a few months, some of them have turned from closed and secret organizations into large public associations.
The Bolsheviks intensified their work. The number of this fraction of the RSDLP at the time of exit from the underground was only 24 thousand people (including 2 thousand in Petrograd). Over 60% of party members at that time were workers and 26% were employees. Peasants accounted for less than 8%. The Russian Bureau of the Central Committee (A. G. Shlyapnikov) advanced the slogan of creating the Provisional Government on the basis of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers 'and Soldiers' Deputies, relying on the revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry. The leaders of the Petrograd and Moscow Bolsheviks, as well as the editorial staff of the Pravda newspaper (L. B. Kamenev, I. V. Stalin, M. K. Muranov), considered it possible to have the provisional support of the Provisional Government with constant pressure on him, which was practically fell with the tactics of the Mensheviks.
The strategy and tactics of the Bolsheviks underwent significant changes after the return to Russia of V. I. Lenin. In his April Theses, he stated the need to abandon the support of the Provisional Government and embark on the path of transferring all power to the Soviets. The Seventh (April) Conference of the Bolsheviks, held in Petrograd from April 24 to April 29, approved the main provisions of Lenin's theses. Rejecting the renaming of the party as “communist” proposed by Lenin, the conference delegates (133 people with a decisive vote and 18 with an advisory) decided to add the word “Bolsheviks” to its traditional name “Russian Social Democratic Labor Party”. The number of the party by the end of April 1917 exceeded 100 thousand members. The bolshevik slogans "All Power to the Soviets", "Down with the War", "Land to the Peasants" became more and more popular, reflecting the growing dissatisfaction of the population with the policies of the Provisional Government.
At the First All-Russian Congress of Soviets in June 1917, the Bolsheviks made up only 12% of the delegates. This, however, did not prevent Lenin in response to the statement of I. G. Tsereteli, that in Russia there is no political party capable of taking power into their own hands, loudly declare: "Yes!". Laughter in the hall did not embarrass him, and he said in his speech: “I answer: Yes! Not a single party can refuse it, and our party does not refuse it: every minute it is ready to take full power if the Soviets render trust her. "
The speech of General Kornilov made the Bolsheviks go on short-term cooperation with other left parties. However, soon Lenin again demanded that the Central Committee of the party begin preparations for an armed uprising, the course for which, in early August, adopted the VI Congress of the RSDLP (b). The slogan "All power to the Soviets" was restored, but as the slogan of an uprising. On the eve of the October Revolution in 1917, the number of Bolsheviks in the country exceeded 350 thousand people.
The Russian Mensheviks, like the Bolsheviks, being a faction of the RSDLP, were organized after the Second Party Congress in 1903. The most prominent figures of Menshevism were Yu. O. Martov, P. B. Axelrod, F. I. Dan, G. V. Plekhanov, A. N. Potresov, I. G. Tsereteli, N. S. Chkheidze. This did not mean the unity of their views at various stages of the revolutionary movement. The Mensheviks were constantly splitting up into groups leading an intense political struggle between them. Relations between the Social Democrats - the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks - were also subject to change. There were frequent cases of transition from one camp to another.
After February 1917, Menshevism became one of the most influential forces in the country. Representatives of the Mensheviks played a leading role in the Soviets of Workers' Deputies (N. S. Chkheidze in the Petrograd Soviet, L. M. Khinchuk in the Moscow Soviet). The Menshevik policy was determined by the leaders of the centrist direction (F. Dan, M. Liber, I. Tsereteli, N. Chkheidze), who after the overthrow of the autocracy proclaimed themselves "revolutionary defencists". The main condition for achieving peace without annexations and indemnities, they considered the democratization of the country's political system.
The Menshevik internationalists (Y. Martov, O. Yermansky, and others) pointed to the counter-revolutionary role of the bourgeoisie in the post-February period and called for the proletariat to take an independent class position. Despite the opposition of the internationalists, until October 1917 the course of an agreement with the Liberals invariably prevailed at the Menshevik meetings.
After the April political crisis, the Mensheviks invariably followed this course. The leaders of the defencists considered it necessary to conduct the work of liberating Russia together with liberal bourgeoisie. Mensheviks occupied ministerial posts in the Provisional Government: in
The 1st coalition was attended by M.I. Skobelev (Minister of Labor) and I.G. Tsereteli (Minister of Posts and Telegraphs),
2nd — M.I. Skobelev and A.M. Nikitin (Minister of Posts and Telegraphs), in the 3rd — A. M. Nikitin (Minister of Posts and Telegraphs and Minister of Internal Affairs), K.A. Gvozdev (Minister of Labor) and P. N. Malyantovich (Minister of Justice).
In August 1917, a unifying congress of the RSDLP was held in Petrograd. Its delegates represented about 200 thousand members of the Menshevik Party. It was decided to change the name of the party to the RSDLP (merged). The party carried such a name until April 1918, although in reality the real unity of its ranks was very far away.
The policy pursued by the Mensheviks, undermined their authority among a large part of the population. In the elections to the Constituent Assembly at the end of 1917, the party received only 2.3% of the votes of voters. For Russia, the Europeanized Marxist model of “democratic socialism,” which the Mensheviks were supporters of, turned out to be unacceptable at that moment.
In 1917, the Socialist-Revolutionary Party became one of the ruling parties in Russia. The popularity of the Social Revolutionaries in the radical circles of Russian society was largely connected with their terrorist activities at the beginning of the 20th century. The First World War divided the Socialist-Revolutionaries into "internationalists" led by M. Nathanson and V. Chernov and the "defencists" with leaders N. Avksentyev, A. Argunov and I. Fondaminsky. After the fall of the monarchy, the Social Revolutionaries were ahead of many other Russian parties in the pace and scale of their organizational work. They widely installed print propaganda and agitation. The Socialist-Revolutionary demands for the overthrow of the tsarist autocracy, the conquest of political freedom, the convocation of the Constituent Assembly, the socialization of the land were expressed in the winged slogan "Land and Freedom."
The number of the party in 1917 reached 400-700 thousand people (according to some data, up to 1 million). Most of them had rather weak ideas about the theoretical principles of the party. The Socialist-Revolutionary press itself quite often called the "March" Socialist-Revolutionaries an "accidental, poor quality element", "formal Socialist-Revolutionaries".
Within 1917, several movements fully formed within the party - right, centrist and left. The official party course was determined by the centrists, whose position was expressed by V. M. Chernov and the secretary of the Central Committee V. M. Zenzinov. At the same time, the “right-centrists” —A.R. Gotz (chairman of the Social Revolutionary faction in the Petrosoviet and comrade of the Central Executive Committee), Russian Republic). Among the leaders of the Right SRs were also A. F. Kerensky, E. K. Breshko-Breshkovskaya, B. V. Savinkov. The left wing of the party was represented by B. D. Kamkov, M. A. Spiridonova, P. A. Alexandrovich, M. A. Natanson.
The right-wing Socialist-Revolutionaries, as well as the Menshevik-Defencists, were supporters of the coalition government. Party representatives participated in the activities of three coalition governments: in the first, A. F. Kerensky (military and maritime minister) and V. M. Chernov (minister of agriculture); in the second, Kerensky (Minister-Chairman), Chernov (Minister of Agriculture) and Avksentyev (Minister of Internal Affairs); in the third, Kerensky (minister-chairman) and S. L. Maslov (minister of agriculture).
Despite the efforts being made, in 1917 the party was unable to achieve reconciliation of the left and right flanks already distant by that time. The rightists were sharply negative towards the Bolsheviks, with their course towards the socialist revolution and the slogan of the transfer of power to the Soviets. They insisted on the continuation of World War to the bitter end. The left SRs, on the contrary, saw the salvation of Russia in a breakthrough to socialism and world revolution. Having opposed the policy of the coalition with the Cadets, the left opposition sought to transfer all landowner land to the land committees until the final decision of this issue by the Constituent Assembly. The agrarian question turned into a stumbling block for the Social Revolutionaries. Despite the fact that in June and October 1917, the ministers of agriculture V. Chernov and then S. Maslov consistently submitted a draft land bill to the government, it was never adopted.
The left Social Revolutionaries as an opposition movement within the Social Revolutionary Party took shape during the First World War and gradually transformed into. independent party. Their founding congress was held in November 1917 in Petrograd. By July 1918 the number of the party of the Left Socialist Revolutionaries reached 80 thousand people. At the turn of 1917-1918. they agreed to participate in the work of the Council of People's Commissars. It was only after the left SRs decided in mid-1918 to “straighten the line of Soviet politics” and took a number of actions provoking a war with Germany, did they find themselves in opposition to the Bolsheviks.
The main party of Russian liberals, the Cadet party, showed the most active participation in the political events of February-March 1917. The Cadets were actively involved in the formation of new government bodies. They play a leading role in the creation of the Provisional Government and the activities of its first cabinet, which included 5 representatives of the party (P. N. Milyukov, A. I. Shingaryov, N. V. Nekrasov, A. A. Manuylov and F. I. Rodichev). The basis of the government’s program was the traditional party requirements. The Cadets saw their main task in bringing the country to a lawfully elected Constituent Assembly. The political ideal of the Cadets was the parliamentary constitutional monarchy of the English type, dominated by the principle: "The king reigns but does not rule."
In March-April 1917 there was a rapid growth in the size of the party. Its ranks increased to 100 thousand people. Without exaggeration, we can say that the Cadets accumulated in their ranks the color of the Russian intelligentsia - V.I. Vernadsky (academician), A.S. Izgoyev (professor, publicist), A.I. Kaminka (professor, board member of the Azov-Don Commercial Bank ), A. A. Kizevetter (pro-professor, one of the editors of the Russian Thought magazine), F. F. Kokoshkin (professor), N. N. Kutler (publicist, chairman of the Council of miners of the Urals), V. A. Maklakov (lawyer, one of the best speakers of his time), S. A. Muromtsev (professor, chairman of the First State Duma we), P. B. Struve (Professor), A. A. Shakhmatov (Academician), etc.
The influence of the party weakened in the summer of 1917. On July 1, the Central Committee of the party at its meeting voted to leave the government in protest against the Cabinet’s decision to grant Ukraine autonomy. In the 2 nd coalition government, the Cadets nevertheless included: S. F. Oldenburg (Minister of Education), P. P. Yurenev (Minister of Transport), F. F. Kokoshkin (State Comptroller), A. V. Kartashev (Minister of Confessions). In August, most of the leadership of the cadets supported plans to establish a temporary military dictatorship in the country. After Kerensky called the speech of Kornilov a rebellion on August 26 and expressed his claims to possess full power, the Cadet ministers resigned. The second coalition government ceased to exist. The position of the party "people's freedom" seriously shaken. Cadets A.I. Konovalov, N.M. Kishkin, S.A. Smirnov and A.V. Kartashev became part of the 3rd coalition government (September 25 - October 25), stipulating the conditions of their work in it: the establishment of a strong government , independent of my "revolutionary democracy", the rejection of the left program in socio-economic issues, the restoration of discipline in the army. However, they could no longer have any serious impact on the situation at that moment.
Representatives of other political parties, such as pro-activists (A.I. Konovalov), Octobrists (A.I. Guchkov, I.V. Godnev, V.N. Lvov) tried to have their say in the revolution. But already in the first half of 1917, some of them left the political scene (Guchkov), others went under the banner of cadets (Konovalov), and still others tried to influence the course of events on their own (V.N. Lvov, for example, in August 1917 r. mediated in the negotiations between Kerensky and Kornilov).
The revolution gave a new powerful impetus to the development of anarchism. On the eve of February 1917, there were about 300 supporters of this socio-political movement in the country, proclaiming their goal to destroy the state, political power, free the person from all forms of political, economic and spiritual dependence by uniting individuals into voluntary associations of citizens . Russia has developed three main areas of anarchism: anarcho-communism, anarcho-syndicalism and anarcho-individualism. Among anarchists, there was no unity in the question of how to combat the regime. Explicit priority was given to illegal and, above all, terrorist means. In 1917, one of the first practical steps taken by anarchists was the seizure of the summer residence of the former tsarist minister, P.N. Durnovo, near Petrograd. This was followed by the killing of the most hated by the anarchists by policemen, the seizure of newspapers and magazines, and the expropriation.
In the spring and summer of 1917, the process of the return of Russian anarchists from abroad and places of detention was going on; federations and associations of anarchists of all directions were recreated. In relation to the Provisional Government, all anarchists were unanimous: the power of the "capitalist ministers" should be overthrown.
The leading positions in Russian anarchism in 1917 belonged to anarcho-communists. They advocated an immediate end to the imperialist war. Their organizations operated in 59 localities of the country. Among the leaders of this direction were P. A. Arshinov, A. M. Ata-Bekyan, L. Cherny, I. Bleikhman, A. A. Karelin, D. I. Novomirsky, Moscow became the center for gathering anarcho-communist forces, where they are in 1917-1918. published their newspaper - the newspaper "Anarchy".
The Bolsheviks skillfully used communist anarchists as a destructive force against the bourgeoisie. In October 1917, three of them (I. Bleikhman, I. P. Zhuk, and K. V. Akashev) were members of the Petrograd Military Revolutionary Committee. Many anarcho-communists commanded detachments of soldiers and sailors (A. G. Zheleznyakov, M. G. Nikiforova, N. A. Kalandarishvili, etc.).
In the middle of 1917, organizations of anarcho-syndicalists also existed in all major cities of the country (heads - V. Volin, X. 3. Yarchuk, G. P. Maksimov, V. S. Shatov). Their main goal was the destruction of the state and the creation of a federation of syndicates to which production and distribution should be transferred. Soon, the unions of metal stations, port workers, bakers, and separate factory and factory committees were under the control of anarcho-syndicalists. Syndicalists have drawn a line on the establishment of actual workers' control in production. Syndicalists attracted by the Bolsheviks participated in the overthrow of the Provisional Government, and V.S. Shatov and Kh. 3. Yarchuk were members of the Petrograd Military Revolutionary Committee.
After the “gathering of forces” stage in the fall of 1917, anarcho-individualists also showed themselves (the leaders were the Gordin brothers). The basis of their organizations was the student youth, people from the lower classes of society, preferring individual methods of struggle against power. The Gordins brothers proclaimed pananarchism as their slogan - the idea of a general and immediate anarchy, an “invention” for the mobs of tramps and lumpen. In general, the tendency towards the criminalization of the anarchist environment became apparent already in 1905-1907, when organizations with meaningful names began to emerge: "Bloody Hand", "Hawks", "Avengers", "Black Crows", etc.
Anarchists never formed a party in its traditional sense, for they did not seek to come to power. Since 1918, the anarchist movement has experienced a series of splits. A significant number of anarchists enter the ranks of the Bolsheviks (A.K. Gastev, A.M. Anikst, V.S. Shatov, and others), explaining their departure from anarchism by the “crisis of the movement” and the country's entry into a new phase of development. In 1922, according to the party census, there were 633 former anarchists of various trends in the ranks of the RCP (B.).
The overthrow of tsarism led to the cessation of the activities of the once-numerous (over 400 thousand people in 1907) Black-Hundred organizations - the Union of the Russian People, the Union of Russian People, the Russian Monarchist Party, the Russian People’s Union named after Michael the Archangel, etc. The most influential members of these organizations were representatives of the Russian intelligentsia — famous political figures, scholars, writers: A. I. Dubrovin, V. M. Purishkevich, N. E. Markov (second Mark), N. A. Maklakov , A. A. Maykov, A. I. Sobolevsky, Vol. D.P. Golitsyn and others
After the transfer of state power into the hands of the Bolsheviks, many representatives of the "right" were subjected to repression by the Emergency Commissions.
The fall of the monarchy created favorable conditions for the organization and activities of professional unions. By October 1917, they united over 2 million people in their ranks, and by the end of 1917 the number of workers organized in trade unions was about 3 million.
In 1917, factory and transport committees began to be established at industrial enterprises and transport, which became one of the forms of unification of the Russian proletariat. Unlike the trade unions, the factory committees were elected at general meetings by the workers and employees of this enterprise, regardless of their professional affiliation. The main task of the FZK was the implementation of workers 'control over production, the introduction of an 8-hour working day, the solution of questions of quotations and wages, etc. The factory committees participated in the formation of the Red Guard detachments and the workers' militia.